Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Female Heart Attack

Must Read - I didn't known some of this stuff!!
Subject: Female heart attack

I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is
the best description I've ever read. You all take care out there! IW

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 completely unexpected heart attack at about 10:30 pm with
NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect
might've 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 p.m.

After that had 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 spasming), gaining speed as they continued
racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses
rhythmically when adminstering 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 attack !" 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 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 unbolt the
door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they
came in.

I 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 Cardiologist 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 stents 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 stents.

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.รข?

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". Ladies, TIME IS OF THE
ESSENCE! Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER--you're a hazard to
others on the road, and so is 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
Paramedics 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.) MI's 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...

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10
people, you can be sure that we'll save at least one life.

**Please be a true friend and send this article to all your friends
you care about**

Thanks Ellen S.

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