Posted 3 years ago

By Jason Wentworth

Linda Ainslie of rural Mitchell stated, “The pain was so excruciating, it felt like someone was inside my chest, pulling. It is a pain I will never, ever forget.”

Ainslie was recalling her experience of suffering an aortic aneurysm-a bulge in a section of the body’s main artery-just over three years ago. Although no one in her family had ever suffered a similar condition, her health care team determined it was likely her uncontrolled high blood pressure that caused the aneurysm. “That morning, I tried repeatedly to get out of bed, but the pain continued,” Ainslie said.

She immediately called 911 and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. “I remember that ride  very clearly-every building, every tree I saw. I thought I may never see them again.”

Ainslie had the right instinct to call immediately for help, “Never ignore pain in your chest. If you have a condition like high blood pressure it is so important to follow your healthcare provider’s orders and take medication as prescribed,” she advised.

The Go Red for Women campaign by the American Heart Association encourages women take charge of their heart health by knowing their risk for heart disease and taking action to reduce it. In the Panhandle and throughout the Nation, heart disease is the leading cause of death and nearly one in every three adults reported being told by a healthcare professional that they had high blood pressure. On February 1, 2013 Panhandle Public Health District urges all residents to wear red and help raise awareness that heart disease is the #1 killer.

Heart disease does not discriminate based on age or gender. Lifestyle, overall health, and genetic factors can all raise your risk. While you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80 percent according to the American Heart Association.

Although Ainslie’s road to recovery has been difficult with two additional heart attacks, selfcare has become so much more important to her. “My blood pressure is now very low through healthy eating, watching my sodium intake, avoiding caffeine by switching to green tea, and being active every day,” she relayed.