Julia Allen, a young and vibrant wife and mother of three was only 44 years old when she sat up in a hospital bed realizing that she had just survived, not one, but two heart attacks on the same day: April 15, 2013.
Julia started her day like she usually did, rushing around to get her family ready. But soon after she got to work, she began to feel very sick. She felt intense heartburn that was accompanied by nausea, hot flashes, dizziness, shortness of breath, tightening in her jaw, and pain down her arm—all heart attack symptoms.
Unconvinced, she looked online and found the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women site. She identified with the stories of women with symptoms and lives like hers, and she realized something serious could be wrong. She called her husband, and then her doctor, who told her to go to the ER.
It took a heart attack for Julia Allen to finally learn how to make herself, and her health, a priority.
Since then, Julia has made important changes to her lifestyle to reduce her heart attack risk. She’s eating healthier foods and making more time for exercise. Instead of waiting in bleachers while her kids play sports, she brings exercise clothes and walks around the track.
Her experience has also inspired Julia to become an advocate for heart health, especially for women. She volunteers with her local AHA chapter and works to raise awareness that heart disease is women’s No. 1 killer.
Julia credits the stories she read on the AHA’s Go Red site for helping convince her to seek life-saving medical attention. She hopes her story will encourage others to make their health a priority. The American Heart Association gave her a platform in 2015 to share her story as Julia was selected as a national spokeswoman.
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