"I didn’t have any other signs, no pain in the chest, all I had was a pain in my arm, but it turned out to be an enormous heart attack. All I could think was, I’m too fit for this to happen to me." — David
In Australia, 53,000 people will have a heart attack this year. Those who survive have a high-risk of battling heart failure, which can greatly diminish quality of life and steal precious time away from loved ones.
Not many people know, that surviving a heart attack does not mean your health is in the clear. In fact, far from it! People who survive a heart attack now enter a very critical and high-risk category.
If you’ve had a heart attack, you are twice as likely to die prematurely compared to the general population.
For the first month after a heart attack, there is a huge inflammatory response in the heart tissue. While this response is designed to protect the body, it actually causes further damage to cardiac tissue and can lead to heart failure. People with type 2 diabetes are at even greater risk and currently there is no treatment available to stop this from happening.
David was 52 years old, and the fittest he had ever been in his entire life. He was training to participate in an IRONMAN triathlon and eating healthy home cooked meals. David was doing everything right to protect his health. That’s why he was unprepared for the massive heart attack that would almost take his life.
David had returned home from the swimming pool one day and noticed a niggling pain in his left bicep. The pain had come and gone in the past, so he thought nothing of it. This time the pain became worse, and within a short time, it was unbearable. David was fortunate his wife was with him at the time, and she rushed him to hospital.
David describes what happened next, “An ECG revealed I was having a massive heart attack. There was very little blood reaching my heart, due to a 100% blockage of my left anterior descending artery (LAD). The doctors were amazed I was still alive. I was immediately taken to surgery and had two stents inserted to unblock the artery”.
David’s doctors credit his survival and recovery to his remarkable fitness levels at the time. Most other people would not have lived. But the danger does not just end there. This is why we need your help today.
David’s heart did sustain significant damage from the heart attack and like the thousands of other heart attack survivors, he too is at risk of developing complications like heart failure. Heart failure often means reduced quality of life and significant time away from loved ones, and even the possibility of premature death. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The Baker Institute's Dr Adele Richart is devoting her career to develop a treatment that will help protect the heart from the damage caused after a heart attack, especially in those who are more vulnerable, such as people with type 2 diabetes.
Dr Richart explains, “one of our studies has shown that if we deliver a particular treatment of HDL (good cholesterol) immediately after a heart attack, it improved the heart’s ability and capacity to pump. Our research highlights that we need to act quickly after a heart attack to prevent further damage to cardiac tissue.”
Dr Richart is determined to stop the health decline of people who suffer a heart attack.
How your generous gift will help
The reality is we can’t prevent heart failure in people who have had a heart attack unless we invest in the research our devoted scientists are conducting. The researchers at the Baker Institute are dedicated, hardworking and passionate, and they need our support and backing.
Can you please give a kind gift today? You will help fund Dr Richart’s research, providing her with the resources she needs to urgently find a treatment to prevent heart failure in this especially vulnerable group of people.
With your wonderful support today, you have the power to help all Australian’s living with heart disease and diabetes to live healthier, happier and longer lives.