Essence is fit and energetic, and works out every day. When she noticed mild chest pain and heart palpitations during her workouts, she chalked them up to overexertion. But when these symptoms appeared when she wasn't exercising, she knew something was wrong.
Tests showed that two of the three main arteries to her heart were more than 90 percent blocked. Essence underwent angioplasty to clear the blockage and had stents -- short lengths of mesh tubing -- inserted in her arteries to keep them clear.
Now her symptoms are gone, and she keeps her heart healthy with medication and regular checkups. Her message: "Heart disease can hit anyone. Know the risks and take action to stay healthy."