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 Harriett O'Toole

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Harriett O'Toole is typical of today's younger generation. She works out several days a week, eats a well-balanced diet, looks great and feels even better. Except O'Toole, who prefers that you call her Hat, isn't really part of today's youth movement. Hat's 72 years young, and she's a pistol.

It wasn't always this way. In 1998, O'Toole suffered what she calls a classic male heart attack. Rushed to The Ohio State University Medical Center, she received lifesaving treatment and got a therapy schedule from Ohio State's Cardiac Rehabilitation Program before even being discharged. The plan was to put O'Toole on a heart-healthy diet and through exercise, increase her upper body and core strength.

O’Toole was no stranger to exercise. In fact, she was running marathons before she had her heart attack. “But I thought my body had failed me and that I’d never feel secure in my body again,” she relates.

Linked to Genetics
O'Toole's cardiologists concluded that her heart attack was linked to genetics, since she has a family history of heart disease. However, O'Toole assumed she was off the hook, as this pattern had only affected male relatives.

Today, because heart disease is no longer seen as a "man's disease" — it is the number one killer of women — Ohio State's Women's Cardiovascular Health Clinic remains dedicated to educating women about heart disease risks, prevention and recovery.

O’Toole’s road to recovery was filled with “fantastically helpful” specialists and support from her wonderful husband, five children and grandkids.

A team of rehabilitation specialists, including her cardiologist, were there during her rehabilitation at Ohio State’s Center for Wellness and Prevention. “It’s been very beneficial,” she explains. “Exercise increases your self confidence.”

These days O'Toole is making her mark in the weight room, lifting weights as well as her spirit. She still works out at Ohio State’s Center for Wellness and Prevention five days a week. 

"I feel wonderful today!" she remarks, adding her gratitude for the expert care she received, "I was in very good hands from the start."