Growing up, I had always been a healthy and active person. There was not an illness that I had ever gotten other than the common cold. I never had the flu, allergies or chicken pox. I was always involved in activities from dance to softball. So when I got pregnant in 1999 I just knew that eating nutritious meals and remaining active was how to keep my baby and myself healthy. But I was wrong. In August 2000, at the age of 22 and about a month and a half after giving birth to my son, I was diagnosed with Postpartum Cardiomyopathy a.k.a. Peripartum Cardiomyopathy.
So what is that exactly? PPCM is a potentially devastating disease affecting young, healthy women during what should be the most special time in their life. It is estimated to occur in approximately 1,000 to 1,300 women each year in the United States and death rates have ranged between 18% and 56%. Those women that do survive and even those that regain complete heart function are instructed that future pregnancies may have catastrophic results. Despite its potentially profound physical and psychological impact on healthy young women there is still very little known about PPCM. Much of the current understanding is based on older studies with small sample size and written prior to the establishment of specific criteria for the diagnosis. According to www.hearthub.com CHF is described as a chronic condition in which the heart muscle gets progressively weaker and is unable to pump effectively to meet the body’s need for blood and oxygen. Heart failure usually results in an enlarged heart. It often causes shortness of breath, tiredness and swelling of the legs and feet..
I started My Heart Rocks to raise awareness for Peripartum/Postpartum Cardiomyopathy. So many people equate Heart Disease to clogged arteries, high cholesterol, no exercise and simply not eating right. As someone who took dance for the majority of my life and was always active at school and home, I can’t see where that myths fit into my life. So not only am I trying to raise awareness, but I’m trying to get some answers as to how this could happen to young, active people and get information out to offices of OB-GYNs, emergency room staff and maternity wards. We need to get support for the testing and prevention of this disease in new mothers.
My Heart Rocks is in the process of becoming a 501c3 non-profit organization. Please support our efforts and donate so we can make this a reality. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to become a part of this movement. Click the icon below to follow My Heart Rocks on Facebook.