Is it Coming for Me? Understanding Your Family Health History

more than five of her relatives have

died of this serious disease and now my

guests think she's following in their

footsteps is a fatal disease in her

destiny take a look my life is a ticking

time bomb because of my family's history

with heart disease my dad had his first

heart attack at age 30 I am constantly

worrying about dying of a massive heart

attack my dad died of a heart attack at

61 my great-grandmother Alice she died

at age 28

my grandfather Henry died at age 35 both

my great-uncle's outfit and Herman died

of massive heart attacks and my aunt

Billie struggles with congestive heart

failure even today I'm starting to

experience the same symptoms that my dad

suffered from I've been having moments

where my heart starts to suddenly pound

one time I started to get really dizzy

and felt sick and my chest started to

get really really tight I even have

issues with something as simple as going

up a flight of stairs and it scares me

I suffer from high blood pressure high

cholesterol and I'm overweight my doctor

told me to lose weight and I didn't lose

the way so I didn't go back because I'm

embarrassed I don't have the best diet

and my eating is out of control I hide

it from my fiance I hide it from my mom

I hide it from all of them I'm supposed

to be on blood pressure and and

cholesterol medicine but I don't take

them I feel it's coming for me

and I fear that I'll end up dead in the

next few years if I don't change my ways

if I wasn't here for my boys I'd be a

really sad life for them

well Chrissy is joining us along with

our good friend dr. Freda lewis-hall

chief medical officer of Pfizer we just

love it when you come you always bring

such good information when we're born we

don't always know what will inherit from

our family and Chrissy why are you

reading your next birthday I'm dreading

my next birthday because my dad had his

first massive heart attack at age 30 and

I turned 30 in a few months so doctor

failure does a family history of heart

disease mean the whole family will have

it you have the risk factors and some of

them are inherited but the idea is you

now know that you're at risk you can

understand those risks put a plan

together and manage those risks so it's

not automatic but why are you avoiding

the doctor mainly out of embarrassment

the thing that will keep you consistent

is accountability and when you erase the

accountability by erasing the

appointment out of your calendar book

that makes it easier for you to not be

compliant if they have a long history of

heart disease in their family what can

they do okay so for starters back into

partnership with a solid health care

team it's really a must the second thing

that's going to happen is to understand

the the family history and then thirdly

the doctor may do a genetic test to see

if you are at increased risk for some

genetic predispositions and then we'll

say okay here are all the risks what are

the things we need to do to manage the

risks and that'll be the plan that

you'll then be accountable for working

with your team to move forward with so

what's your biggest issue with all of

this my biggest issue is that I spend

90% of my day just thinking that I'm

gonna die in heart-attack and the fear

in that is that I'm gonna leave to

really beautiful boys and I just need to

know how to stop overthinking that all

the time well I'm not sure that you that

you want to stop overthinking it it's

like waiting for lightning to strike

it's like you're telling yourself it's


two-strike I just don't know when

exactly but the whole thing is if you do

some things that empower you where you

don't feel like it's necessarily going

to strike you can lower the risk you can

lower the likelihood that this is going

to happen that's exactly right so now

you know the rest you have a plan you

get to choose okay what is the healthy

food choice that I can make right now

what can I do this afternoon to increase

my physical activity so I'm more fit

most people do not realize this but very

small positive changes in your lifestyle

over time accumulate into really

meaningful reductions in risk and allow

you to avoid those catastrophic events

because risk is not destiny unless you

let it be I just feel like they deserve

to have a mom that's here because I miss

my dad my dad was a real strong man and

he was just gone any instant the

important thing is ask yourself are you

doing everything I can to minimize the

risk and the answer is no right

I'm not get on a program where do I

start and what are the steps well get

healthy stay gives you those

steps it tells you you know here's where

to start here are the things you can do


get active and don't erase that how do

you book go to the doctor all right well

listen we got it we've got to go but

there's good information on the website

right yes there's there's so much to

learn about getting heart healthy and

staying heart-healthy and much of that

is one get healthy stay I

want to thank all of my guests today

especially dr. Freda lewis-hall