Jennifer Kline, 34, of Durand, Michigan, knows what it’s like to hear the words “You have heart disease.”
After a childhood filled with health issues she took her health into her own hands. “I knew something was wrong and had been wrong for a long time,” said Kline. “I was young and looked healthy so no one figured it could be a heart defect.”
For nearly 20 years Kline was treated for asthma, but doctors finally discovered why she had such difficulty breathing - she had a mitral valve prolapse with severe regurgitation. Basically she was short of breath because her heart was not pumping blood correctly.
Congenital heart defects are structural problems with the heart present at birth. Each year, about 36,000 U.S. babies are born with a heart defect. Since 2005, we’ve committed $61.4 million to research relating to children’s health.
“I am so thankful for the research the American Heart Association does every day. It not only saved my life, but my quality of life.”
Kline was released from all restrictions this past June after completing cardiac rehab. She’ll be returning to her elementary teaching job this fall with more excitement than all of her students combined.