Lisa S. Lenkiewicz
February is American Heart Month, and Melissa Costa Guardarrama has a few simple messages for Latinas. Listen to your body, don’t smoke and know the risks of heart disease and stroke.
Guardarrama, of Barrington, R.I., was just 30 years old when she suffered two mild strokes. Her heart became so enlarged it was functioning at only 15 percent. She thought she had the flu—her symptoms were stomach pains, sweating and vomiting. Finally, she went to a hospital in Providence. Doctors discovered a clogged artery, but concerned about her kidneys, nothing could be done at the time except for a medication regime.
Four years later, in 2011, Guardarrama experienced intermitten chest pains whenever she walked–even for only short distances. Fortunately, she again got herself