This February — American Heart Health Month — inspire someone you love to lower their risk of heart disease. Read and share Ruby’s amazing story.
“Ruby Hope’s efforts to raise awareness about heart disease took on new meaning after she had a heart attack. She made significant lifestyle changes and became an advocate for those in the community and for her own family to take charge of their health. ”
Ruby Hope spent years volunteering through her church and her sorority to raise awareness about heart disease, in addition to community health initiatives as a hospital director of critical care. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with coronary artery disease and had a heart attack that she took her own heart health seriously.
Ruby’s main focus had been her type 1 diabetes and the medical complications it had caused. Shortness of breath and chest pain sent her to the hospital in 2010, and she was diagnosed with severe anemia. Doctors also did a heart catheterization that showed she also had coronary artery disease.
Ruby, who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, has a family history of heart disease. Both her mother and her brother died from heart attacks. Ruby was prescribed medication for hypertension and made some lifestyle changes, but she was still more focused on her diabetes. By 2012, she was in severe kidney failure, but was disqualified for a kidney transplant because she was extremely overweight.
The rejection motivated her to get serious about exercise and diet, and Ruby lost roughly 50 pounds by 2013. Her kidney function was so improved that she no longer required a transplant.
She continued with her exercise, losing another 15 pounds by 2014, but noticed it was getting hard to go up the stairs without getting winded, and she was gradually shortening her walks.
One day in May 2014, she had begun her daily walk, but she only made it a block before she called her husband to come get her.
“I couldn’t go any farther,” she said. “My arm was heavy and I had a feeling of doom.”
Even so, she put off going to the doctor until the next day. Ruby shared her symptoms with her internist, who was in the process of coordinating with the rest of her medical team, when she had a heart attack.