Skip to main content

Kerri always suspected there was a link between experiencing preeclampsia with her first child and developing hypertension later in life. She speaks from the heart to share her story.

I am a 48-year-old Aboriginal (Noongar) woman from WA.

I was just 18 when I came close to death during what should have been a happy moment – delivering my first child.

Two weeks prior, I had been diagnosed with preeclampsia, despite feeling well and displaying no outward symptoms. It was something I’d never even heard of or suspected I could be at risk of.

My baby and I made it through, thankfully, but we spent two weeks in hospital recovering.

I often think of the stress and worry I felt at such a young age knowing I could have lost my baby.

I had a very supportive family, which helped me pull through the experience, and I was very fortunate to go on to have my second child at age 21, with no complications or signs of preeclampsia.

But I learnt that if we don’t ask questions during ante-natal appointments, we can become at risk of developing cardiovascular disease later in life. At the age of 30, I was diagnosed with hypertension, and I’ve been on medication ever since. Two years ago, I was also diagnosed with left ventricular hypertrophy.

I always suspected that there was a link between experiencing preeclampsia with my first child and developing hypertension later in life.

There is a strong family history of heart disease on my father’s side, as well, so now I pay extra attention to nurturing myself and making my health a priority.

I know that Aboriginal people are at much greater risk of developing a cardiovascular disease such as diabetes and heart disease, and I know the importance and risks associated with having an unhealthy lifestyle. So I try to eat well, avoid processed and fast foods, plan daily exercise, sleep well and minimise stress, although this is easier said than done for many!

I also visit my doctor regularly and am careful to remember to take my medication, despite working full-time and raising a family.

I share my story because I hope more Aboriginal people will share their stories. Sadly, a high proportion of Aboriginal people are living with a chronic disease and unfortunately passing on from the many complications that can occur if you don’t look after yourself.

I strongly encourage everyone to have regular check-ups with their doctors, and to take care of themselves. If we can teach our younger generations the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle from the start, then we have a chance of reducing our rates of cardiovascular disease.

Support HRI

Today's research is tomorrow's cure.

Every donation to the Heart Research Institute is an investment into the lives of millions. Help make a lasting difference by donating today.

Other ways you can help

Questions about mRNA vaccines and heart...

Get the answers