Patient Stories

Added to My Toolbox
Removed from My Toolbox
Added to My Toolbox
Removed from My Toolbox

Cindy's Story: A Family History of Heart Disease

Cindy Hauck had a family history of heart disease, but has partnered with her cardiologist H.B Karunaratne MD, FACC, to improve her heart health.

The procedure to clear her blocked artery was a success, and Cindy’s also doing her part. She’s cooking healthier to help keep her bad cholesterol levels low. Thanks to her cardiologist she’s learning a lot about her heart health—especially when it comes to women.

When Cindy Hauck wants to feel close to her brother…

Cindy: “In my quiet moments, when I feel I need to talk to him…”

…..she goes online -- to a website memorial.

Cindy: “I just see a lovely, neat person.”

Her brother Jack was an accomplished surfer and artist.

Cindy: “Here’s another picture of a board he designed.”

Too young and seemingly too healthy to suddenly die of a heart attack.

Cindy: “My brother went out for a jog and collapsed and died of a massive heart attack. That was my first indication that there’s gotta be something wrong. If Jack was so healthy and he died, what could I possibly have?”

Cindy had been ignoring what was becoming a tragic family legacy. Her father, a professional baseball player, all but one of his brothers, several other family members, and Cindy’s brother Jack all died of heart disease.

Cindy: “It’s like everything else; you just don’t think it’s going to happen to you. And I don’t know if that’s being ignorant or just really believing you’re healthier than that, but since Jack passed away, my cousins and I just felt that was a real big sign that we all really need to heed the lesson.”

That lesson was an appointment with a cardiologist. She found out she had high cholesterol. An ECG test that measures the heart’s electrical activity was abnormal, and so was a test measuring blood flow to her heart. This and her unique family history of heart disease prompted her cardiologist to order a cardiac catheterization—a procedure that injects dye in the coronary arteries to check for blockage.

Dr. H.B Karunaratne: “She had a blocked artery in her heart, and not just any artery, but the most important of the three arteries in her heart was significantly blocked. The likelihood was that even though she was asymptomatic she would have had a heart attack in the near future.”

The procedure to clear her blocked artery was a success, and Cindy’s also doing her part. She’s cooking healthier to help keep her bad cholesterol levels low. Thanks to her cardiologist she’s learning a lot about her heart health—especially when it comes to women. Statistics show that heart disease is the number one killer of women. Heart experts say compared to men, women’s symptoms can be different and subtle—such as jaw pain or flu-like illness—and can happen later in life. But experts say many risk factors such as smoking, weight and diet can be managed.

Cindy: “Don’t ignore it. Don’t think it can't happen to you, because it can.”

Cindy and her cardiologist have partnered with one goal—to improve her heart health.

Dr. H.B. Karunaratne: “She sought medical advice and treatment and she has followed the advice very effectively. Actually, we have been able to reduce all of her risk factors to a very low level.”

Because of her family history, her sons will also see Dr. Karunaratne.

Cindy: “I want to be here. I’m sad that my brother’s not here to see them. I’m sad that my father’s not here to see them. I want to see it all. I want to be here for it all and to think I was on the verge of missing out on all of that because of just ignorance, just because I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t being proactive.”

It took her brother’s heart attack death to see a cardiologist.

Cindy: “Due to my brother---unfortunately due to his death-- I’m alive. He gave me a wonderful gift; a gift of life.”

Don’t ignore it. Don’t think it can't happen to you, because it can.

Cindy Hauck: High Cholesterol Patient

Related

High Cholesterol

Eat Better

Many of us know that a healthy diet is important, but when push comes to shove, eating healthy is often easier said than done. That’s why we’ve gathered tools and information that you need to understand healthy eating and how to incorporate it into your everyday life.

Know Your Cholesterol

There are four types of cholesterol that you and your doctor should be concerned with to determine if your cholesterol is too high: total cholesterol, high-density cholesterol (HDL), low-density cholesterol (LDL), and triglycerides. Use this calculator to help determine if your cholesterol numbers are on track.