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Carole Millar, Heart Patient

"Listen to your own body."

With the exception of the time she tore her rotator cuff, Carole was a relative stranger to the doctor's office. The spunky 73 year old is a firm believer that "if it's not broke, don't fix it."

Carole says, "I only go to the doctor when they call me and say, 'We need to see the whites of your eyes.'" Such a call is what led to the discovery of her heart disease.

Looking back, she admits tiring more easily and often feeling short of breath, but it was easy for her to rationalize. "I thought it was a combination of old age and not being in the best physical condition," Carole explains. "If I lost 20 pounds, I wouldn't have any trouble." Or so she thought. Her doctor was not as convinced. After detecting a heart murmur, Carole's doctor referred her to a cardiologist for further evaluation. A series of diagnostic tests revealed she had a faulty heart valve. If left untreated, she would have eventually suffered a heart attack or stroke.

Ever the consummate optimist, Carole viewed her diagnosis as an opportunity to help others. "I was determined to come out on the other side better than I came in," she says. "I'm grateful that I had the experience because it gave me knowledge that I can now share with others."

Perhaps the most important lesson Carole has learned, which women should especially take to heart ... "Listen to your own body. It will tell you before anyone else if something's not right."

For more information about Saint Agnes Heart & Vascular Services, click here.

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