“I broke a cardinal rule of mine: To listen to your body.”
Every 40 seconds, an American has heart attack. A heart attack can happen to anyone—even if you don’t have the typical heart disease risk factors. Fitness guru and heart attack survivor Bob Harper is living proof.
“I never thought that I was going to have a heart attack,” says Harper. “When I woke up in the hospital two days after my heart attack, being told what had happened to me, I couldn’t believe it.”
On February 12, 2017 when the former The Biggest Loser trainer experienced a near-fatal heart attack at the gym, he made it to the hospital in time, thanks to a doctor on site and the help of a defibrillator. Many people, however, aren’t as lucky. About 47% of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside a hospital, which suggests that many people don’t act on early heart disease warning signs.
Before his heart attack, Harper’s body was trying to talk to him. Looking back, he realized he had been having heart attack warning signs, but he brushed them off as something else. “I was experiencing dizzy spells. One time I actually fainted in the gym. It was my body telling me that something was wrong,” he says. “I broke a cardinal rule of mine, and that is to listen to your body and I did not do that. I figured that maybe I was just dehydrated. I had all these excuses.”
Since his heart attack, Harper’s not only made some serious changes to his already-healthy lifestyle, like his post-heart attack diet and modified exercise routine, but he’s also adamant about maintaining a good relationship with his doctors and heeding their advice. “I didn’t know that I would be likely to have another heart attack within the first year. That was a huge wakeup call for me and that’s when I really decided that I was going to do whatever my doctors told me to do,” says Harper.
Harper has teamed up with the awareness and advocacy cause Survivors Have Heart (supported by AstraZeneca), which helps educate other heart attack survivors on the importance of working with their healthcare provider and staying committed to treatment and the lifestyle plan prescribed by their doctor.
“The main thing that I would tell people is to really know your health. Know what’s going on, see your healthcare provider, make sure that you know your health from the inside out,” says Harper.
00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:04,462
I never thought that I was
gonna have a heart attack.
00:00:04,462 --> 00:00:08,911
When I woke up in the hospital two days
after my heart attack being told what had
00:00:08,911 --> 00:00:11,317
happened to me, I couldn't believe it.
00:00:11,317 --> 00:00:18,920
00:00:18,920 --> 00:00:23,982
Before my heart attack where I was
experiencing dizzy spells and one time I
00:00:23,982 --> 00:00:30,290
actually fainted in the gym, it was my
body telling me that something was wrong.
00:00:30,290 --> 00:00:34,530
I broke a cardinal rule of mine, and
that is to listen to your body and
00:00:34,530 --> 00:00:35,480
I did not do that.
00:00:36,650 --> 00:00:40,699
I figured that I was
just maybe dehydrated or
00:00:40,699 --> 00:00:46,292
I had all these excuses and
that was definitely not the case.
00:00:46,292 --> 00:00:56,292
00:00:58,155 --> 00:01:02,171
The main thing that I would tell
people is to really know your health,
00:01:02,171 --> 00:01:05,426
know what's going on,
see your healthcare provider,
00:01:05,426 --> 00:01:08,700
make sure that you know your
health from the inside out.
00:01:08,700 --> 00:01:13,690
I didn't know that I would be
likely to have another heart
00:01:13,690 --> 00:01:19,150
attack within the first year, that was
a huge wake up call for me and that's when
00:01:19,150 --> 00:01:24,870
I really decided that I was going to
do whatever my doctors told me to do.
00:01:24,870 --> 00:01:28,440
My life has changed so
much since my heart attack,
00:01:28,440 --> 00:01:33,420
I've had to not only change the way
that I eat, the way that I exercise.
00:01:33,420 --> 00:01:36,530
I have such a relationship
with my doctors now.
00:01:36,530 --> 00:01:39,690
I really do think that you
00:01:39,690 --> 00:01:42,700
feel like you're the healthiest
you've every been in your life.
00:01:42,700 --> 00:01:46,203
You don't really know what's going
on until you go to the doctor and
00:01:46,203 --> 00:01:48,120
find out what's actually going on.
00:01:48,120 --> 00:01:51,956
Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics At-a-Glance. American Heart Association, 2018. (Accessed on March 2, 2018 at http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/ahamah-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_498848.pdf)
Heart Disease Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Accessed on March 2, 2018 at https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm)