Sarah has a new lease of life thanks to Sheffield's Community Cardiac Rehabilitation team
Sarah Glossop admits she was devastated when she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy.
After receiving the shock diagnosis following a routine echocardiogram, Sarah said she lost her confidence and was scared she could die suddenly.
“I had thought that I was just run down after a stressful year, but when I got the diagnosis it really devastated me,” says the 49-year-old.
“I was very down about it and I just could not function. I was terrified as I had read that people with my condition can die suddenly, and I was worried that could happen to me.
“I had no confidence in doing any exercise at all, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to work. I had completely lost my mojo.”
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle which can affect its ability to pump blood around the body and lead to heart failure. Further tests revealed that Sarah’s ejection fraction – a measure of how much blood is pumped by the heart with each contraction - was just 23 per cent.
For Sarah, who is self-employed and runs a dog walking business, her first thought was that she would have to give up her job. But then, the mum-of-one was referred to the heart failure team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, and subsequently the Community Cardiac Rehabilitation team.
After being visited at home by cardiac specialist nurses, she was encouraged to take part in the programme of exercise classes, two times a week for six weeks. She was set the individual goal of increasing her confidence in doing exercise, and built up the amount she could do using gym equipment and circuit training.
Sarah says: “I was initially worried that the classes would be full of really sick, old people, but I could not have been more wrong. It was full of lively and smiley people, and the nurses were welcoming, patient and knowledgeable, and you were never made to feel ill or weak.
“It has made such a massive difference to me. I got my vitality back, I feel alive and really well. I am back to dog walking, and find that I have more stamina, but more than that – the fear that had been holding me back is gone.”
Senior respiratory physiotherapist Sarah Lee added: “Sarah has seen such a huge improvement in all areas.
“It has been really lovely to see her journey, it is why you do the job.”