You know what it looks like...the Hollywood heart attack. It's usually a middle-aged, or older, man clutching his chest. Maybe he's sweating profusely and short of breath. He's probably falling over a piece of furniture and passing out. Maybe he lives and maybe he doesn't. But that isn't necessarily the way it happens when you're woman.
In 2017, I was sitting in a Toastmasters meeting when I began to feel a sensation in the middle of my chest that was more annoying than it was painful. It was a burning/tingling sensation and if it hadn't radiated to my arms, I might have ignored it. As it turns out, I was having a heart attack brought on by a Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. Fortunately, the aforementioned Toastmasters club met in the hospital, so I was in the place I needed to be to get the care I needed quickly. And here I am to tell the tale.
I'm very blessed to have suffered minimal cardiac damage and I feel like I'm no worse for the experience. But enough about me...let's talk about the symptoms.
What Should We Look For?*
- shortness of breath with or without exertion
- pain in jaw, arm, shoulder, neck, back, stomach
- nausea and/or vomiting
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- extreme fatigue for no known reason
- pain, pressure or squeezing feeling in the middle of the chest
- unexplained weakness or anxiety
Many of the above mentioned symptoms can be an indicator or other things as well. If you feel like it could be a cardiac event, do NOT ignore what you're feeling. Seek help.
Women will often power through their pain because they have too much to do or they don't want to make a fuss. What if it's nothing? Well, if it's nothing, you can get some peace of mind. But what if it's something? If it is a cardiac event, getting medical attention as soon as possible can help to minimize the damage that waiting might otherwise cause. Isn't it better to make a little fuss and save your life?
What Should We Do If We Have Some Of The Symptoms?*
- call 911 and DO NOT drive yourself or allow a loved one to drive you to the hospital
- if you are alone, after calling 911, unlock the door and lie on the floor near the door so you can be found if you lose consciousness
- chew and swallow one full adult aspirin or three baby aspirin with water
- when at the hospital tell them that you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack and ask for a cardiac workup that includes an EKG and a cardiac enzyme test
- do not allow the medical team to dismiss you without being checked thoroughly because you look "too young" to have a heart attack
*Source - www.womenheart.org
Don't forget that more women die from heart disease than from all cancers combined. And yet, 80% of heart disease is preventable through education, and lifestyle and nutrition management.
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I help women living with or at risk for developing heart disease or other chronic illness that we can manage through lifestyle and nutrition changes. Or maybe you're on the verge of developing heart disease, or diabetes, or another lifestyle related condition. If so, let's chat. For a free consultation with me, click here.