A woman was told by her doctor that her heart palpitations were unsettling “three times.”
Jade Cook, 35, used to practice yoga five times a week.
However, her concerns were repeatedly dismissed until she requested an X-ray, leading to another investigation, revealing she had a serious heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
It all started when one Christmas I contracted a flu-like virus that caused my heart to barely pump blood.
Despite her age, she was at high risk of cardiac arrest and had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) with a pacemaker for 5 hours of surgery.
At first I was too weak to wash my hair on my own, but after six weeks I was doing gentle yoga.
A cardiologist said her speedy recovery was partly due to her love of yoga.
Now an instructor in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, Jade wants to create a special class for people with heart disease.
Jade, who is also our financial controller, said:
“I think it was a shock at first. It took me months to understand exactly what DCM is and how serious it is.
“I kept asking myself if life would ever be the same again.
“My lowest point was where I had an ICD with a pacemaker after surgery.
“I felt like I had lost most of what made me. I just wanted my old life back.
“But slowly, six weeks after the surgery, things started to heal, so I started doing gentle yoga movements.
“Every day I feel a million times better. Now I want to raise awareness about yoga and its positive impact on heart patients.
“I never thought someone my age and fitness level could get heart disease, but the truth is, heart disease can affect anyone at any time.
At Christmas 2018, Jade contracted a flu-like virus and in January was suffering from fatigue and heart palpitations.
She could barely keep up with yoga classes.
“Finally, my mother came with me and suggested that I have an X-ray. It turned out that my heart was enlarged.”
Diagnosed with DCM in March 2019.
Her heart’s ejection fraction—a measure of the amount of blood pumped by the heart’s left ventricle—was only 11%, compared with the normal range of 50% to 75%.
By June 2019, she had lost weight and had to cut back on her work hours before quitting her job altogether.
“Normally I’m very independent, but now my mother had to do a lot for me.
“My life changed completely. I kept asking myself, could life ever be the same again?”
By September 2019, she was at high risk of cardiac arrest and underwent five hours of surgery followed by six weeks of recovery.
He couldn’t wear clothes, drive, or do yoga.
she said: I was grieving for the person I was with.
“I felt like I had lost most of what made me. I just wanted my old life back.”
After an ablation (a small burn on the inside of her heart to stop her irregular heartbeat) in January 2020, her heartbeat stabilized and she was able to return to work on a reduced shift.
Three years later, Jade is on three heart medications and her heart function has increased from 11% to 32%.
“My consultant has never really told me why practicing yoga has worked for me, but yoga reduces stress and anxiety and keeps the mind and body in balance.”
Qualified as a yoga instructor in July 2021.
“I was abandoned when I first got sick, but eventually got checked out.”
“I might not be here today,” Jade said, without the research funded by the British Heart Foundation.