DALLAS, TEXAS, Oct. 3, 2023 – Parvaneh Babaloui had rung up a customer, stepped away from the counter to relay a food order to the cook and, with a smile, turned to help the next person in line at her cafe inside Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, when she realized something was wrong. She suddenly felt a rush of nausea and dizziness as her heart began beating erratically.
“I didn’t know what was happening,” Babaloui said. “Thankfully, one of the nurses in line saw me. She said I needed to go to the ER immediately.”
Arriving a few minutes later by wheelchair, Babaloui underwent a thorough exam by emergency medicine physicians that included checking her blood pressure and heart rate, and administering an electrocardiogram to check her heart rhythm
“Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but my blood pressure was very high,” Babaloui said. “My doctors suspected I was dealing with a severe anxiety attack.”
Receiving a proper diagnosis
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a 2020 household pulse survey, 27.3% of adults in the U.S. reported that they cope with symptoms of anxiety. The triggers for anxiety include concerns about finances, work, health and family.
As the owner of the French Garden Café, Babaloui has operated the business with her husband for more than 27 years. She’s passionate about her job and admits to working six days a week – sometimes more.
“They are a pleasant fixture on the Texas Health Dallas campus,” said James Park, M.D., an interventional cardiologist on the Texas Health Dallas medical staff and a member of Texas Health Heart & Vascular Specialists, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice*. “When I’m having a stressful day, stopping to have lunch and catch up with the Babalouis creates a welcoming atmosphere, so that I can relax and refocus.”
Babaloui’s demanding workload became heavier when she also began serving as a caregiver after her mother’s stroke. Her mother passed away last year.
Just two months after Babaloui’s anxiety attack at the café, she had another one.
Babaloui had the same symptoms both times, and Park, who is also Babaloui’s cardiologist, was especially concerned with her syncope, or dizzy spells.
“My main worry was whether Mrs. Babaloui was dealing with any underlying cardiovascular conditions,” he said.
Park performed a stress echocardiogram to check for structural heart issues and had Babaloui wear an event monitor for 10 days. About the size of a small camera, the battery-operated monitor, also called an ambulatory electrocardiogram, records the heart’s rhythm.
“Thankfully, Mrs. Babaloui’s heart was functioning normally, but she had a lot on her plate,” Park said. “Her stress and anxiety were triggered mostly by her mother’s recent passing and other factors of life.”
Babaloui’s hypertension medication was adjusted to control her overall blood pressure.
Taking one day at a time, giving thanks
Now Babaloui, who recently turned 68, said she feels great and works to keep her stress level low. She even takes breaks as needed throughout the day.
“I love my customers, and I know I’m a workaholic,” she said. “But now I’m better, mentally and physically.”
Park, who also serves as Ewton chair of Cardiology and director of the Structural Heart Program at Texas Health Dallas, said numerous individuals face challenges in life, but some of the stressors can be alleviated through physical and social activities. “We all can benefit from walking, praying, meditating and talking to our loved ones to help minimize or even eliminate the stress.”
Babaloui agreed. Just a few feet from her cafe, she has a special place for meditation and prayer.
“It’s a place outside where I sit by myself,” she said. “I relax, talk to God and give thanks.”
*Providers employed by Texas Health Physicians Group are not employees or agents of Texas Health Resources hospitals.
About Texas Health Resources:
Texas Health Resources is a faith-based, nonprofit health system that cares for more patients in North Texas than any other provider. With a service area that consists of 16 counties and more than 7 million people, the system is committed to providing quality, coordinated care through its Texas Health Physicians Group and 29 hospital locations under the banners of Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Huguley. Texas Health access points and services, ranging from acute-care hospitals and trauma centers to outpatient facilities and home health and preventive services, provide the full continuum of care for all stages of life. The system has more than 4,100 licensed hospital beds, 6,400 physicians with active staff privileges and more than 28,000 employees. For more information about Texas Health, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org.
Source: Press Release Texas Health Resources