Going Red in Honor of My Dad
Like many, my dad didn’t feel that he needed to see doctors. He wasn’t one to get yearly physicals or have blood work done or even see a physician when he was sick (which was also rare). The thought of heart disease or a heart attack never crossed his mind – until the day it actually struck, with its fullest force. Five years ago, my family and I lost my father to a heart attack. Out of the blue, no symptoms, no warning – at least not to us, at the young age of 56. Surely 56 is too young for a heart attack, right? That’s what most people tend to think.
In my grief following his death, I became fascinated with researching heart attacks and cardiac episodes. Looking back with what I have since learned, he had symptoms on and off for many months. Pale skin, fatigue, a nagging cough to name a few. The summer before he passed – he was not able to finish his usual outdoor home improvement projects, completely out of character for him. My mother attributed all of these symptoms to the natural aging process. Each symptom could be connected to multiple different issues. There was no reason to suspect heart disease; he ate healthy foods and he and my mother participated in ballroom dancing multiple times a week. He appeared healthy on the outside.
Heart attacks and heart disease aren’t something to be taken lightly. They’re serious and they can happen to you and your family. That’s why I’m wearing red on Friday, February 3 for National Wear Red Day, to help create awareness and support for all those who have been affected by heart disease, like my family.
Many sudden cardiac episodes are preventable, but the symptoms are so vague many people don’t know to get help before it is too late. Take it from me – see a regular doctor, learn the symptoms, get tested and limit your risk factors today.
Laura is an assurance senior associate in the Hampton Roads market, focusing on the hospitality and not-for-profit industries. Prior to joining Dixon Hughes Goodman, Laura served in the Navy for 3 years. Laura’s Life Beyond Numbers includes spending time with her husband cooking, touring wineries and hanging out with her fur babies.