Oooh chile, help me. Serena had a major scare last month and I really don’t know how I feel about it. If this could happen to her, what does that mean for me? *sigh*

For some reason, the advice from my 9th grade P.E. instructor is ringing in my head – You can’t tell whether a person is healthy just by looking at them. There are internal health issues (e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes, impacted bowels – gross, yes, but true. And that is the exact example my teacher, Ms. Brown, gave lol) that are just as severe as the obvious, physical ones (e.g. obesity, handicaps, injury). Her point was to never judge a book by its cover – and to also avoid thinking higher of yourself just because you see someone else that may not be the poster child for the next Wheaties campaign.  Watching Serena Williams this week reminded my of that advice and it’s a bit scary.

She is celebrity, an award-winning tennis superstar, possesses a killer physique and toned arms (that’s me being envious), and dated one of the sexiest men in R & B/neo-soul – yet, she suffers from a silent disease that affects more than 600,000 people each year. Recently, she gave an interview on the Today Show and discussed her condition, treatment, and response to the illness.

According to the interview, she was first hospitalized on February 18 due to the presence of blood clots in her lungs (her symptoms were a swelling in her leg and breathing problems). Serena recovered and planned to make an Oscar appearance the following week – only to be readmitted to the hospital the very next day. She had to have immediate surgery to remove a grapefruit-size hematoma (blood clot) in her stomach. The good news is that Serena is doing well and her sports career will not be impacted as she was able to get medical care before her health issues could progress.  The lesson here? Prevention is critical. If you are experiencing a symptom that isn’t ‘normal’, please be proactive and consult a medical professional.

What is most disturbing about this story is that someone that appears so healthy was affected by a potentially fatal condition – so suddenly. According to the Mayo Clinic, pulmonary embolism can occur in otherwise healthy people. Signs and symptoms can vary from person to person, but commonly include sudden and unexplained shortness of breath, chest pain and a cough that may bring up blood-tinged sputum (saliva and mucus).  I am glad that she is doing well, but this should be a warning to us all.

Healthcare is prevention: Prevention is healthcare.

Pray for me. I drank 2 coronas and devoured a honeybun while writing this. Jesus.

You can view the interview at this link: Today Show

Source: Mayo Clinic

5 commets “Healthwatch: Serena Williams

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