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Life changes for young blogger

At 31 years old, travel blogger Liz Carlson had a clean bill of health and an appetite for adventure. But on Valentine’s Day 2020, she experienced a heart attack.

Mistaking heart attack symptoms for stress

Liz was on her laptop with her morning coffee, getting ready to start her day, when a feeling of total dread washed over her, building into an intense crushing pain across her chest, neck and shoulders down her arms and even into her jaw. Struggling to breathe, she collapsed on the floor. At the time, she put it down to stress.

It wasn’t until sometime later, after spending a week in Christchurch Hospital because of an abnormal blood test, that Liz found out she had suffered a minor heart attack. Liz had no risk factors or family history of heart disease.

“The doctors concluded that it was possible that a migraine medication I’d been prescribed may have been the problem as it narrows blood vessels,” she says.

Lifestyle changes have drastically improved her health

These days life looks a little different for Liz. She has changed her everyday habits to reduce stress, such as sleeping more, massage therapy and taking control of her life. She does regular exercise and goes for walks every day.

“I feel much calmer now as a person, and this is partly down to the relaxation I’ve built into my life after my heart event,” she says. However, she still remains busy – setting up a house plant business and keeping her large following up to date with her adventures on her blog Young and across her social channels.

“I’m only 34, and I’ve been through a lot, but I’m always curious to know more about myself and to understand what caused my life to almost end. Only then can I learn to manage how I respond to challenges.

Heart attack warning signs in women can be different

Heart attacks can happen to anyone at any time in their life. Warning signs of a heart attack include chest discomfort, excessive sweating, shortness of breath and nausea. 

Women can experience other less obvious symptoms, including discomfort in the upper back, nausea, sweating and unusual fatigue.

Supporting the Big Heart Appeal

Liz is supporting this year’s Big Heart Appeal. She is encouraging New Zealanders to donate to help the Heart Foundation fund life-saving heart research.