Angelica Torres, a freshman at Copperas Cove High School, throws the ball in a competitive volleyball game as a member of the Lady Dawgs team. She pumps iron in the weight room to keep her arms, chest, and legs strong. But, she also keeps her heart strong.
Torres suffers from a heart condition, supraventricular tachycardia, an abnormal heart rate that can lead to weakening of the heart muscles, stroke due to blood clotting, and/or heart attack due to pressure on the heart of Torres. . The heart defect is very rare in children. SVT is caused when there is an electrical misfire at the bottom of the heart chambers and the heart rate can reach 350.
Torres suffers from a second heart condition known as left ventricular hypertrophy.
“SVT means my heart rate is moving faster than a normal person, and LVHT means the left side of my heart is weaker due to SVT overwork,” Torres said.
Torres was diagnosed when she was 2 years old. Doctors informed her parents that she could not be active in sports and other physically strenuous activities which could elevate her heart rate even further. But Torres has defied the odds and is involved in CCHS athletics while maintaining honor status with her academics.
“My parents tried very hard to keep a normal life for me so that I could be a kid. It helped me adapt very well to my situation,” Torres said. “But I play volleyball , I weightlift and compete knowing that I know my limits and know my body since my heart rate is 144 beats per minute.”
After several unsuccessful surgeries, doctors inserted a heart loop monitor into Torres’ chest three years ago, making her the youngest child in the United States to have the procedure. He tracks his cardiac episodes 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sending information to both his parents and his doctors.
“It’s helped me learn about my body better. If I have a cardiac episode, the doctors will be able to tell and track the reading so they can get more information,” Torres said. “It depends, but I normally use it up to five times a month.”
Torres was crowned Teen Miss Five Hills 2021 and Young Miss Five Hills 2019 and dedicated her two year-long reigns to heart health.
“I work to raise community awareness with the Go Red for Women campaign since heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined,” Torres said. “I want people to put their health first.”
On March 19, in partnership with Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful, Torres is hosting a fashion show of her royal sister wearing a red outfit made entirely from recycled materials. Torres crowns her successor March 26 at the 9th Annual Miss Five Hills Scholarship Pageant held at the Copperas Cove Civic Center.