Pat's Story

Pat noticed a "tightness" in her chest one day toward the end of October 2001, and she felt more tired than usual. She wasn’t taking her daily walks around Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. Looking back, she says that her body was telling her that something was wrong. Pat attributed these symptoms to working full time and having high blood pressure. When she visited her doctor to explain her symptoms, she expected to get a higher dose of her current high blood pressure medication. Instead, she was given a stress test for her heart. She admits that she "failed miserably."

Pat's family had some experience with heart surgery in the past. Her brother had a heart attack and underwent triple bypass surgery. Like Pat, one of her sisters takes medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This family history, however, is the only black mark on Pat's record of risk factors for heart problems. Previously, she kept up a healthy diet and enjoyed regular exercise, including her walks around the lake.