Heart women! PLEASE save lives.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Most of the time I just delete these emails (grandma is out of control with her sending emails), but something told me to read this one today!!! can you say "OMEN"...
I hope you will all take the time to read this over...very heart warming (no pun intended). Also note that many times heart attacks are misdiagnosed in women because of the differences in how we feel them and how men feel them! Don't be fooled and be on top of your game.


I am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event that I have ever heard.
Please read, pay attention, and send it on!

I was aware that female heart attacks
are different, but this is the best description I've ever read.

Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that
women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing
heart attack.. You know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat,
grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here
is the story of one woman's experience with a heart attack.

'I had a heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO
prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was
sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap,
reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking,
'A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my
feet propped up.

A moment later, I felt that awful
sensation of indigestion, when you've been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of
sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried
bite seems to
feel like you've swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion
and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn't have gulped it down so
fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water
to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation--the
only trouble was that I hadn't taken a bite of anything since about 5:00

After it seemed to subside, the next sensation
was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE
(hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued
racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses
rhythmically when
administering CPR).

This fascinating process
continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. 'AHA!! NOW I
stopped puzzling about what was happening -- we all have read and/or
heard about
pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven't
we? I said
aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I'm having a heart

I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from
my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to
myself, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn't be walking into the next room
where the phone is or anywhere else... But, on the other hand, if I don't,
nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not
be able to
get up in a moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms
of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics... I
told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building
under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or
afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over
immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to un-bolt the
door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

I unlocked the door and then laid down
on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don't remember the
medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or
getting me into
their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I
did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the radiologist was already
there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my
stretcher out of
the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like
'Have you taken any medications?') but I couldn't make my mind
interpret what he
was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the
Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my
femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by
side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.

I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have
taken at least
20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5
minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St Jude are only minutes
away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in
his scrubs
and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my
arrival and the procedure) and installing the stints.
Why have I
written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who
are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand.

1 . Be aware that something very different is happening in your
body, not the usual men's symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my
sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women
than men die
of their first (and last) MI because they didn't know they were having one and
commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn
preparation and go to bed, hoping they'll feel better in the morning when they
wake up... which doesn't happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not be
exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is
unpleasantly happening that you've not felt before. It is better to have a
'false alarm' visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

2. Note that I said 'Call the Paramedics .' And if
you can take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER - you are a hazard to others on the

Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be
speeding and looking anxiously at what's happening with you instead of
the road.

Do NOT call your doctor -- he doesn't know where you
live and if it's at night you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his
assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He
doesn't carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The
do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr will be notified later.

3. Don't assume it couldn't be a heart attack
because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a
cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it's
unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually
caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts
of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the
jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let's be careful and be aware. The more we
know the better chance we could survive.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am a bit late in expressing my appreciation for this blog, but I still want to say thank you. This is such a spot-on description of what happens in such circumstances, and what to do about it when it does occur.

    I'm going to click the "Like" button right now.

    2649 days ago
    TY for reading ladies...I hope you will pass this on to all your women friends and family alike! I shared it with all my co-workers because even though we are nurses...sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves and notice the little changes within us! I am committed to making a change in heart health of women because as I'm sure you all know...Heart Disease is a known as a "silent killer" in women. Heart Disease is not biased like skinny, fat, athletic, lazy, rich and poor! Hope you all pass this on! have a great week!!!
    2651 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/16/2012 10:27:21 AM
    As a survivor, I am so grateful that you posted this. The information may save some lives. I want to add one symptom that the original writer didn't have--sudden, unusual fatigue. My symptoms actually started a day or two before the actual event, when I inexplicably went from being able to walk miles with no problem to walking half a block with great difficulty. Other than that, this is a wonderful blog and I too hope it's featured.
    2652 days ago
    As a survivor, I am so grateful that you posted this. The information may save some lives. I want to add one symptom that the original writer didn't have--sudden, unusual fatigue. My symptoms actually started a day or two before the actual event, when I inexplicably went from being able to walk miles with no problem to walking half a block with great difficulty. Other than that, this is a wonderful blog and I too hope it's featured.
    2652 days ago
    thanks for sharing this blog
    2652 days ago
    Thank you for this blog. Hearts attacks are the leading cause of death for women, and women who have had heart attacks report unusual symptoms like fatigue, indigestion, and nausea. Perhaps only 25 percent of women having heart attacks have symptoms traditionally associated with heart attacks. And many women call their friends or doctor instead of calling 911. A major killer of women having heart attacks is not wanting to bother any one, make a fuss over nothing, etc. emoticon
    2652 days ago
    Thank you so much for passing this is by far the very best description of an MI for a woman I've read..and has very clear instructions as to what to do as well...this is a lifesaving blog and I hope it becomes a featured blog.

    Again thank you for taking the time to share this story.
    2652 days ago
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