It was heart disease that changed my life, when it took the life of my grandfather, when I was a child. His skin was cold to my touch when I went to give him his medicine at 2:00 am. It is likely that either you personally or someone you know has been diagnosed with or affected by some type of heart condition.

Today, as an adult, heart disease is changing my life again.

My husband has coronary artery disease and has had two stents put in to keep open the arteries that provide blood and oxygen to his heart muscle. I am a nurse who specialized in cardiac care and am especially alert to any physical changes my husband might be experiencing. However, there is always that underlying fear of what will happen to him next.

My fears are lessened because, unlike some adult family caregivers, I know what to do and what changes to watch for. Knowledge is truly powerful and needed. Thankfully, there is always something new to learn!

Since the effects of heart conditions can be unexpected, being prepared is key to reducing stress and fear.

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I recently learned about the importance of enabling your cell phone, and that of your family member with a heart condition, to track your location. Without that, if someone dials 911 and is unable to give the address, there is no way for the 911 dispatcher to locate the caller! The sooner first responders are able to reach someone in need of emergency care, the better the outcome can be.

So today, reduce your heart fears. Check your cell phones to make sure the location capabilities are activated. This one simple action can make a huge difference for you and your loved one in an emergency, no matter how old you are!