MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Over 600,000 Americans die every year from cardiovascular disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February is American Heart Month, which stands to remember the ones we have lost while promoting a healthy lifestyle to prevent heart disease.
Darrell Schroll, of Manhattan, never let anything stop him from living the life he wanted. Even when he suffered from heart disease two years ago, right when he was about to celebrate turning 70.
“Went to KU and they said ‘happy birthday, you’ve got a week left,'” Schroll said.
Schroll’s heart had begun to fail, with his left ventricle only working by about 9%.
However, he is still here today to tell his story, thanks to a left ventricle assist device (LVAD), which supplies the blood from his heart’s left ventricle to his right aorta.
“I don’t have a heartbeat. It’s always fun, I go into a new doctor’s office and they try to take my pulse and they…” Schroll said with a stunned look and a laugh. “‘No, I don’t have one.'”
That device and positive attitude have kept Schroll going, along with cardiac rehab. For the past two years, Schroll has been going to Ascension Via Christi in Manhattan three days a week.
“People have the opportunity to learn what they could do different,” said Marty Reed, a cardiac rehab nurse at Ascension. “Whether it’s exercise, eating healthy, stress management.”
Anyone who has suffered from a cardiac event is eligible for this rehab and Reed recommends it.
“We know the people who have participated in cardiac rehab, they reduce their risk of mortality 40%,” Reed said.
However, even for people who have not suffered from an event such as this should still take care of their heart health before it leads to something serious. Eating right, exercising five times a week and managing stress are all ways to do so, Reed said.
“I’ve gotten two more years of fishing in, and all the other things going on,” Schroll said. “So, as long as my health is good, I’m going to keep on going.”
So then, you can keep living life to the fullest, just like Schroll.