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Heart disease survivor believes stress caused her illness

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44-year-old Melissa Blount is a mother, a wife, a victim of heart disease and a survivor.  Looking back, the psychologist in her blames stress.

"I wasn't really significantly overweight.  I wasn't that sedentary, but within a three year span of time, we had had major life stressors," she said.

"About 10 to 25 percent of cardiovascular risk is thought to be from psychosocial factors, which is stress related, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility," said Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan.

The Beaumont cardiologist told me it's our fight or flight response that sends a surge of stress hormones throughout our bodies.

"Chronically over time they have a direct and an indirect effect on the cardiovascular system," she said.

But even after angioplasty opened her massive blockage and saved her life, Blount was paralyzed by fear.

"I was scared to do any kind of physical activity, even have sex with my husband.  I felt really scared to do that," she explained.

She eventually got counseling, started meditation and joined a gym, turning her life around.  Now Blount shares her story to help others do the same.

"If you're not mentally in a good place, your body is going to suffer.  So I really want people to understand that there's nothing wrong with asking for help, going to a therapist.  If you need any type of medication to alleviate depression or anxiety, don't be ashamed about that and to go for it," she said.

If you would like to celebrate women's heart health, join us for the tenth anniversary of the Go Red for Women Luncheon.  We will be at the MGM Grand on Friday, February 15.  Click here for more information about the event.

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