Help­ing out for Heart Week

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS LEE

LIZZIE Scott had no idea the pain in her chest she’d been ig­nor­ing would see her carted off in an am­bu­lance.

The 17-year-old was walk­ing along Queen St in Oc­to­ber when she felt a strong spasm in her back and heart.

It wasn’t un­til she be­gan strug­gling for breath that she re­alised she needed an am­bu­lance. Doc­tors are yet to pin­point the cause of the attack.

Lizzie is telling her story in sup­port of the Heart Foun­da­tion’s Heart Week ap­peal which runs un­til Sun­day.

‘‘I went down­hill re­ally quickly – I was just barely con­scious when they rushed me off to hos­pi­tal,’’ she says.

‘‘It’s pretty scary to think if we had waited any longer to call the am­bu­lance I could have kicked the bucket.’’

Living with an un­di­ag­nosed heart prob­lem is tough, the One­hunga High School stu­dent says.

‘‘It’s very frus­trat­ing not know­ing and pretty scary.

‘‘It also puts strain on the body dur­ing stress­ful times such as ex­ams. I am learn­ing to deal with it and it is cer­tainly nice hav­ing sup­port from my fam­ily and groups like the Heart Foun­da­tion.’’

Lizzie had dif­fi­cul­ties with breath­ing and dizzi­ness from about 9 years old but sel­dom told any­one and tried to ig­nore it.

Heart Foun­da­tion med­i­cal direc­tor Gerry Devlin says di­ag­nos­ing a heart con­di­tion can be dif­fi­cult.

‘‘It is of­ten chal­leng­ing to ob­tain a di­ag­no­sis in pa­tients with symptoms sus­pi­cious of a car­diac ori­gin,’’ he says.

‘‘Care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion should be given to ap­pro­pri­ate in­ves­ti­ga­tions in each in­di­vid­ual case.’’

The foun­da­tion is call­ing for dona­tions to sup­port its work and ask­ing peo­ple to think about their health this week.

An army of vol­un­teers will be tak­ing to the streets na­tion­wide on Fe­bru­ary 13 and 14 to col­lect dona­tions.

Pro­ceeds will go to­wards fund­ing re­search and pro­grammes to help peo­ple make healthy living choices.

heart

Heart prob­lem: Lizzie Scott is be­lieved to be suf­fer­ing from an un­di­ag­nosed heart prob­lem.

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