Taking control of a fast heart


Tess Riecke

Justin Damme finishes his last semester at WSC next year.

Courtney Upah, Staff Writer

Justin Damme has more to think about in college than his education.

He has to deal with a condition called Neurocardiogenic Syncope.

“It’s a really long word for my-heart-beats-way-too-fast. My heart beats twice as fast as everybody else’s. So my resting heartbeat is about 110 usually, depending on the situation,” Damme, an English major and communication minor, said.

A normal heart beat is between 60 and 100 beats per minute at rest, so Damme’s is above average. According to the Mayo Clinic, a lower heart beat typically indicates the heart is more efficient and fit.

Neurocardiogenic Syncope means that the sufferer has the amount of blood going to the brain reduced, leading to fainting spells and other issues.

“You just talk to the teacher and let them know you do have a heart condition, and if any problems come up, you can usually bring papers,” Damme said.

Damme came to Wayne State College because it was close enough to home, and it was affordable. At WSC, he finds that it’s best to work with the teachers.

The first time Damme learned he had a heart condition was in high school.

“I didn’t know I had a heart condition until around my sophomore year of high school. It was pretty bad. I’d only be able to go to class from 8 to 10 a.m., then I’d have to go home,” Damme said.
Damme got good grades in high school. However, it was difficult since he had to miss about two years overall in high school.

Having a social life was hard as well, because he would have to go home from getting sick, so he would miss events like homecoming games.

Damme still has to go to the doctor, but he has learned how to keep himself well. He is now often seen writing, performing magic tricks or juggling.

However, Damme has one semester left and is past 75 credits, and he may have to live off campus in order to complete his schooling due to Bowen shutting down.

“I can’t live on campus again. I have one semester left, and I can’t live on campus, so it’s kind of irritating,” Damme said.