Yoga teachers and vegetarians are not supposed to have heart attacks! Yet, in November 2012, I was sitting in McDonalds with my wonderful husband when a pain radiated up the side of my right breast and under my left breast. My heart began to beat in a very erratic manner. The pain was minimal, yet I sensed that something was not right with the way my heart was beating. I shared this with my husband who drove me to the ER of a hospital five minutes away. A cardiologist confirmed I was in heart failure! A yoga teacher-vegetarian? I was stunned and they life flighted me to a larger hospital 60 miles away for a heart catheritization which showed no blockages. My heart attack was one that targets women primarily: Takosubo carido myopathy. The good news was that if I rested for three months, there would be no heart damage and I could recover. How fortunate I was. I did recover fully and am back to eating healthy and teaching yoga two times per week. My advice is this: don’t ignore your body when it is trying to tell you something is wrong – even if the pain is minimal. Seek medical help ASAP. Had I not sought immediate help, I would have gone into heart failure. I am thankful I listened to my body and my husband’s urging. My journey to recover has been good and I learned to listen to my body. I hope you will, too.
Anna-Marie Lockard, Ph.D.