Don't Go It Alone - Finding Others with Your Struggle

Updated:May 20,2014

Laughing Women HuggingYou’re not the only one with heart disease. So why deal with it alone?

You can meet thousands of people online who are fighting this disease – and who are ready to offer support.

For women, just go to the American Heart Association’s Go Red Heart Match, a free program that’s part of the Go Red For Women movement that increases awareness about heart disease being the No. 1 killer of women. There, you create a unique profile to connect with thousands by age, state, condition and more. 

"Whether you’re getting or giving support, going through it with others can help you cope," said Barry Jacobs, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and director of behavioral sciences at the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in Springfield, Pa.

Get support … without leaving home
 “Cardiac patients have benefitted for years from attending in-vivo support groups that meet at hospitals, churches and community centers around the country,” Jacobs said. “Now, with the advent of social media — including online support groups, Facebook and Twitter — people who've experienced heart disease or heart surgery can derive support from one another without having to leave their homes.”

The support, Jacob said, can “come in the form of emotional exchanges or simple shop talk — sharing ideas about which procedures, medications and coping mechanisms have worked for them.”

Find a friend on Facebook
For thousands of women — and men — affected by the nation’s No. 1 killer, Facebook is becoming common ground to meet and share. And the American Heart Association’s page  is a great place to start.
Some are going to sites for a specific conditions, such as diabetes, like the Heart Of Diabetes page.  Others are communicating about related conditions such as stroke, including survivors or their caregivers who visit the Stroke Connection Magazine page. This site is part of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.

The Mended Hearts, Inc. — a national nonprofit organization of heart  patients and their families and caregivers that partners with 460 hospitals and rehabilitation clinics — is also on Facebook. You can meet with accredited visitors online, by telephone or in your community by e-mailing, calling 1-888-HEART99 (1-888-432-7899) or going to mendedhearts.org.

Mended Little Hearts, a support program for parents of children with heart defects and heart disease, is also has a Facebook page.

So, no matter where you are, you can meet others virtually — because no one should have to fight heart disease alone.