Barbara Pamplin is one of millions of Black women impacted by heart disease and nearly became one of the thousands that die each year.
Barbara’s mother died of heart disease in 2006 and all her sisters live with debilitating chronic illnesses including heart disease.
Despite being aware of her family history of heart disease, Barbara did not take her blood pressure management seriously.
There are often emotional and mental barriers to prioritizing self-care – particularly for Black women like Barbara. For her, these barriers included stress, anxiety, and depression, all predicated on lifelong negative self-beliefs.
Barbara’s uncontrolled high blood pressure weakened her blood vessels over time and she experienced an aortic dissection, a disorder in which the inner lining of the aortic wall suddenly tears and separates from the middle layer of the aortic wall.
Barbara survived a complicated 10-hour surgery with 50/50 prognosis to replace part of her aorta but suffered setbacks while in the hospital, dying three times and enduring two more open heart surgeries.