“Two years ago, I was lounging on my sofa when my left arm started hurting from my shoulder to wrist. It felt like someone had grabbed it and was squeezing very hard. My chest felt uncomfortable and I started sweating profusely. For the next four to five minutes, I couldn’t sit still.

“I knew I was having a heart attack, but I was also in denial. Nobody in my family had ever suffered one in their mid-30s, so how could it be happening to me? I stayed fit and tried to watch my diet, didn’t I?

“I kept thinking that I was too young to die. I called out to my husband and he rang for an ambulance. I was rushed to the nearest hospital. It turned out that my arteries were severely blocked and I needed an emergency heart bypass – doctors removed a blood vessel from my chest and created a new pathway around the blockage to restore flow to the heart.

“The doctor suspected that the blockage could have been caused by my irregular mealtimes and eating fast food – I would order it when I was busy in the office or had to work late. The doctor told me to avoid foods high in saturated fats, and eat more fruits and vegetables. I was also advised to take things easy and watch my stress levels. As I was relatively young, the chances of relapse would be low if I adopted a healthier lifestyle. 

“I haven’t had another heart attack since, but I haven’t been complacent either. I’ve become a vegetarian and I’ve also quit my stressful banking job. I now spend more quality time with my husband and three kids, going for short getaways every few months to unwind. I don’t take anything for granted anymore.” – Eva Lim, 40, stay-at-home mum

This article was originally published in Simply Her April 2013.