A woman who suffered a heart attack in her twenties will speak alongside a Moncton cardiologist this weekend about the rising risk of heart disease in younger people.
Sylvia Williams and Doctor Ron Bourgeois will speak at the Heart Failure Symposium presented by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of New Brunswick on Saturday at Moncton's Casino New Brunswick.
Williams was a busy single mom with two children when she woke up on the floor of her house one night.
Williams said she was shocked to find had suffered a heart attack at the age of 26.
"Disbelief, like how can you have a heart attack at 26?" she said.
Williams's mother died at the age of 32 of a stroke. She smoked and she was on birth control – two factors that don't mix, health-wise, say most doctors.
Bourgeois said heart disease in younger people is on the rise because of lifestyle choices.
"We do see heart disease occurring younger and younger and part of that has to do with the risk factor profile," Bourgeois said, "people still are smoking, people are less active, less physically active."
Williams's health scare has made her choose healthier options. She said she has gone from being close to needing a heart transplant, to being healthy.
Her living room is home to a treadmill, and her diet is healthy. She said that's something others she met while she was in the hospital refused to change.
"To them it was a big deal, having salt on their fries - you know, it's just a changed way of life," Williams said.
"You have to start living life for your heart, not just for the pleasures that you're used to."