Coleen Gill never suspected she was at risk of heart disease, but a poor diet, and stressful job and lack of physical activity resulted in Coleen suffering a heart attack aged only 53.
Almost 10 years later Coleen is a different person, she has completely changed her diet, left her stressful job behind and has retrained as a fitness instructor to help women like her.
“The night of my heart attack I was on the phone to my sister when I started getting pain in my chest but I put it down to indigestion and drank some boiled water and took an antacid tablet.
“By the time my husband came home more than an hour later I was still in pain and was getting hot sweats so we called NHS Direct who advised they would send an ambulance.
“It was in the ambulance they told me I was having a heart attack. I was so shocked. I thought I was fit and healthy. I didn’t smoke, hardly drank and I wasn’t overweight. I still hadn’t really taken it in when we reached the hospital and I remember being surprised that I was pushed straight into a ward. I thought I should be waiting my turn in A&E. I was very tearful about it all.”
“After my heart attack I started questioning my lifestyle, what I was eating and how much exercise I was getting. My doctor told me my cholesterol was sky high and it was then I realised I needed to make some changes.
“I cut out rich, fatty foods such as cream, chocolate, butter and bacon; I also cut out processed meat to cut down on salt. Instead of butter I now use a spread and I’m having more fish, grilling my food and using pepper to season my food instead of salt.
“I have also changed my career and am now a fitness instructor. It was during my rehabilitation programme when I decided to retrain as I wanted to help other people in the same way.”
Two years ago we launched the Love your Heart campaign with Flora Pro.activ, to help raise awareness of heart disease amongst women and how they can help reduce their risk by making simple lifestyle changes such as lowering cholesterol through diet.
The campaign has helped us reach and educate women across the UK encouraging them to find out more about their cholesterol and their general heart health. As part of our partnership, Flora Pro.activ have also donated an incredible £750,000 to fund our research to help prevent more people’s lives being devastated by heart disease.