Helene Sheehan a beauty therapist from Brisbane. Pic Jamie Hanson
Helene Sheehan a beauty therapist from Brisbane. Pic Jamie Hanson

Beauty therapist minutes away from death

Beauty therapist and entrepreneur Helene Sheehan had no inkling she was a candidate for heart disease in her mid-forties.

So when a heart attack nearly claimed her life two years ago, she thought it was bad indigestion.

Cardiologists told her if she had delayed going to hospital another 20 minutes "there was a 100 per cent chance I would not have survived".

"Not for one minute did I think it was a heart attack, I thought I was too young," said the 44-year-old businesswoman from Wavell Heights.

"I was absolutely shocked, I can't even explain the shock of lying in a theatre awake while they are inserting a stent into my heart," she said.

Helene Sheehan a beauty therapist from Brisbane who had a heart attack two years ago at the age of 41, she was 20 minutes away from death. Picture: Jamie Hanson
Helene Sheehan a beauty therapist from Brisbane who had a heart attack two years ago at the age of 41, she was 20 minutes away from death. Picture: Jamie Hanson

A woman who never let an opportunity pass her by, Helene was a vegan with Crohn's disease running five businesses, consuming a pack of cigarettes a day and drinking a lot of cola before her heart attack.

She didn't know there was a strong history of heart disease on both sides of her family.

"All my aunts and uncles died of heart disease before they were 50, and my mother's mum died of heart failure" she said.

Since her heart attack she has not drunk a cola and went cold turkey to give up smoking.

"I don't know how you can expect doctors to fix you up and save your life if you don't take care of yourself," she said.

Six to eight hours sleep a night is now a priority and she has taken to exercising 45 minutes a day.

'I'm a completely different person," she said.

"I think a heart health check is the best idea I've ever heard of," she said.

"One of my clients was trying to lose weight and dropped dead at the age of 38 on a treadmill, he's got two toddlers," she said.

"I had no idea heart disease was the biggest killer. I thought it was cancer, that's what everybody talks about, its always in the media and in news stories," she said.

Making a heart health check mandatory would make people aware of the significance of heart disease as a killer, she said.



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