As a critical care nurse for nearly 25 years, Melissa Bailey knew all the signs of heart disease, but she was the first to deny them when she started experiencing them first-hand.
Bailey admits that even her co-workers began to notice when she began having undeniable chest pain and shortness of breath.
“I kept making excuses,” she said. “I chalked it up to being tired, not sleeping well, and my asthma and arthritic rib.”
Then one day, Bailey needed to walk a distance, uphill in the sand. She became extremely short of breath, dropped to the ground and nearly lost consciousness. Only then did she heed the warning signs and scheduled an appointment with her family doctor.
After cardiac testing, Bailey found herself in the pre-operative area just two days after her 48th birthday awaiting a double bypass surgery.
“I foolishly neglected my own care and physical upkeep, but I am blessed to still be here, being a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter and nurse,” continued Bailey.
Everyone should know the signs of heart attack and heart disease, including chest discomfort; pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath; breaking out in a cold sweat; nausea or lightheadedness.
Bailey along with her family and co-workers will join the American Heart Association Southern New Jersey Spring Heart Walk set for Saturday, May 19 at the Ocean City Boardwalk Sports & Civic Center.
The Southern NJ Spring Heart Walk, locally sponsored by The Heart Institute at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, NJM Insurance Group and Shore Medical Center & Penn Medicine Cardiology and media sponsors Lite Rock 96.9 and SNJ Today, brings hundreds of families, organizations and businesses of South Jersey together annually for a fun event filled with cardiovascular wellness.
“I’m excited to share my story with the South Jersey community at the Heart Walk,” continued Bailey. “By supporting the American Heart Association, we can encourage our family and friends to live healthier lives to prevent heart disease and stroke.”
Heart Walks are the signature community event for the American Heart Association’s Healthy For GoodTM movement which encourages Americans to lead healthier lives by delivering science-based recommendations, tools, tips and motivation to build healthier behaviors. The walk also raises funds to support the fight against heart disease and stroke – our nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 leading causes of death. Held in more than 300 communities nationwide, the Heart Walk is designed to promote physical activity and heart-healthy living through a fun environment that’s rewarding for the entire family.
Four key areas ground the Healthy For Good movement—Eat Smart, Add Color, Move More and Be Well. Unfortunately, about one in three adults participate in NO leisure time physical activity. Getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly is linked to lower risk of diseases, stronger bones and muscles, and improved mental health and mood. According to one study, just 25 minutes of brisk walking a day can add up to seven years of life expectancy. In fact, for the average person in their 50s and 60s, moderate exercise could reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack by half.
To learn how you can join the American Heart Association Southern NJ Spring Heart Walk, visit www.SNJSpringHW.org, call 609.223.3731 or email [email protected].