Kristen Bowlds suffered from a heart attack at the age of 29, shortly after giving birth to her daughter. Despite living a healthy lifestyle, she tragically experienced a second heart attack at the age of 32, and was diagnosed with Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD). SCAD is different from a typical heart attack in that there is a spontaneous tear in an artery that is apparently healthy.
Kristen shared her inspiring story alongside her cardiologist and Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) chief medical officer, Dr. Scott Sharkey. In an interview with KSTP 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Dr. Sharkey explained, “We know that SCAD happens to younger women, and we know they have fragile coronary arteries, but we don’t know why they’re fragile.” He added, “We don’t know why these patients have a risk of recurring, and we don’t know if it’s genetic and can be passed on to their children.”
MHIF is working hard to better understand SCAD and other heart conditions as they relate to women. With a recent transformational gift from Penny and Lee Anderson, we’ve established the Penny Anderson Women’s Cardiovascular Center, which is committed to advancing the understanding of heart disease in women, how to prevent it, and how to optimize patient care.
Kristen has been great advocate for MHIF’s work and movement to #ResearchHer. In the interview, she stated, “I worry every day I’m going to leave a beautiful family behind … but there are two ways you look at it — either in fear or you move forward and do something with it. And so that’s kind of why I’m advocating and putting a lot of my effort into finding research and bringing more awareness to women’s heart health.”
Watch the full interview on KSTP below. You can also listen to Kristen featured on Roshini Rajkumar’s WCCO radio segment, “Real Talk with Roshini” here.