Healthy Living: ‘The flu ended up in my heart’: Local woman shares message to take care of your health

Tash Haynes has been taking pictures for the American Heart Association for years, documenting other women's stories of surviving heart disease and strokes. Little did she know, heart disease would be part of her story.

Last year, after a bout with the flu, Tash says something just felt off.  Tash was having trouble catching her breath, so she went to see her chiropractor who told her to go to the emergency room.

Doctors immediately checked her blood pressure and heart rate which were both dangerously high.  After some more tests, Tash was diagnosed with a condition called myocarditis  Health experts say it can can be caused by a virus (including the flu) and leads to the heart muscle to becoming inflamed.  Tash also had pericarditis, which is the thinning of the lining around the heart.  As a result, Tash was losing blood.  She spent 16 days in the hospital and has worked the last year to regain her strength.

Tash is now an ambassador for the American Heart Association, advocating for other women to live heart healthy lives.  She encourages other women to see their doctor regularly for check-ups and listen to their bodies.

Tash is now back to work, along with her husband Ike.  Together they run a photographer business  , capturing other people's stories through the camera lens.  Tash says her faith, her family and her 5-year-old daughter, Wisdom are her motivation to stay healthy and continue to take care of her heart.