She is not your typical heart patient: she is young, physically fit, and slim. But musical performer and Grammy-award winner Toni Braxton knows how it feels to battle the monster that is heart disease. And she puts her celebrity status to use for a good cause – to increase awareness about heart disease among women.
Four years ago, Toni experienced symptoms of breathless and tightness in her chest during a performance’s intermission and ended up in an emergency room. She was diagnosed to have pericarditis. According to Medline Medical Encyclopedia, pericarditis is
“a disorder caused by inflammation of the pericardium, which is the sac-like covering around the heart. [It] is usually a complication of viral infections… and most often affects men aged 20-50, usually following respiratory infections.”
According to Newsweek, Toni also suffered from hypertension and had to take a beta-blocker medication to keep her blood pressure low. She also walks on a treadmill at least 20 minutes a day and forgoes her favorite salty foods, like burgers with bacon. Instead, salads, asparagus and low-sodium chicken and jambalaya soups are her usual fare.
Earlier this year, the mother of two served as spokeswoman for Campbell Soup Co.’s GoRedWithCampbells campaign. As part of the campaign, Campbell donated $1 to the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign for every person who voted for his or her favorite red dress. If you click here, you will see Toni wearing the winning dress designed by Lisa Perry.
Campbell is among the leading food companies who developed food which are heart-healthy, yet delicious. It has also pledged to donate $1.8 million to the American Heart Association within the next 3 years “to help the raise awareness about how heart disease affects women.”
According to the CDC, heart disease killed 696,947 people in the US in 2002 and more than half of them (51%) were women. In Europe, 45 % of female deaths are due to cardiovascular disease compared to 38 % of all deaths in men, according to the European Heart Network 2008 cardiovascular disease statistics.
Toni was again hospitalized in April for chest pains. Despite her health problems she remains committed to the cause of battling heart disease.
Here are Toni’s tips for your heart:
We wish you all the best, Toni. You are not alone in battling the monster.
Photo Credit: Foxy Brown Online downloaded at www.tonibraxtonweb.org/index.php