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female heart attack symptoms

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female heart attack symptoms

Posted by samm [1003.2765] on December 13, 2010 at 13:34:03:

I've got no idea how accurate this info is (it arrived in an email from a relative), but passing it along in case it's helpful. Please add to it or refute it as appropriate.


NURSE'S HEART ATTACK EXPERIENCE

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!

FEMALE HEART ATTACKS

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 10:30PM 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 5:00p.m.

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 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 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 road.
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 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). 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.

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




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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by PhillyLady [3423.9306] on December 13, 2010 at 14:47:02:

In Reply to: female heart attack symptoms posted by samm [1003.2765] on December 13, 2010 at 13:34:03:

Good advice about calling the paramedics. However, the patient should INSIST on being taken to the hospital when experiencing such symptoms.

When my mother had her first heart attack/stroke, the incompetent paramedics refused to take her to the hospital. They felt she had nothing more than the flu and possible bug bite (swollen arm and wrist). She couldn't walk, could barely speak, and was in terrible pain (back of neck and upper back). They were called back the next day when her symptoms worsened, and this time she was taken to the hospital where she was correctly diagnosed.


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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by AT [11797.9200] on December 13, 2010 at 15:22:20:

In Reply to: Re: female heart attack symptoms posted by PhillyLady [3423.9306] on December 13, 2010 at 14:47:02:

They can refuse to take you for more medical treatment??? Wow. I thought that was still ONE decision a patient could make.


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Re: female heart attack symptoms--archive.

Posted by Walt Stoll [93.9293] on December 13, 2010 at 16:53:03:

In Reply to: female heart attack symptoms posted by samm [1003.2765] on December 13, 2010 at 13:34:03:

Thanks, Samm.

Perfect description.

Walt


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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by Marian [15.9177] on December 13, 2010 at 17:01:47:

In Reply to: female heart attack symptoms posted by samm [1003.2765] on December 13, 2010 at 13:34:03:

Thank you for this informatin Samm!

Marian


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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by Sounder [10699.8312] on December 13, 2010 at 17:15:17:

In Reply to: female heart attack symptoms posted by samm [1003.2765] on December 13, 2010 at 13:34:03:

Women's symptoms not as predictable
According to Patricia A.Grady, PhD, RN, Director of the NINR, "Increasingly, it is evident that women's symptoms are not as predictable as men's. This study offers hope that both women and clinicians will realize the wide range of symptoms that can indicate heart attack. It is important not to miss the earliest possible opportunity to prevent or ease AMI, which is the number one cause of death in both women and men."

The women's major symptoms prior to their heart attack included:[/br]

Unusual fatigue - 70%

Sleep disturbance - 48%

Shortness of breath - 42%

Indigestion - 39%

Anxiety - 35%


Major symptoms during the heart attack include:

Shortness of breath - 58%

Weakness - 55%

Unusual fatigue - 43%

Cold sweat - 39%

Dizziness - 39%



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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by PhillyLady [3423.9306] on December 13, 2010 at 17:23:49:

In Reply to: Re: female heart attack symptoms posted by AT [11797.9200] on December 13, 2010 at 15:22:20:

Yes, AT. They told her it was the flu, that she'd be better staying in bed recovering at home. Unfortunately, she tried to believe them and didn't insist until the next day when the ambulance had to be called again.


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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by Sounder [10699.8312] on December 13, 2010 at 17:27:34:

In Reply to: Re: female heart attack symptoms posted by PhillyLady [3423.9306] on December 13, 2010 at 14:47:02:

When I was a lad my father had been very sick with the flu for some time. I witnessed an episode with him really wheezing and gasping for breath. It was pretty bad. I went to the phone, picked up the receiver and said who should I call..911? They said don't bother. The episode passed. A few nights later I was woken up by my older sister and her hubby and told that he had died. Though the family thought it was from the flu, the coroner eventually labeled it a heart attack.


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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by PhillyLady [3423.9306] on December 13, 2010 at 19:00:36:

In Reply to: Re: female heart attack symptoms posted by Sounder [10699.8312] on December 13, 2010 at 17:27:34:

Sounder, that's so sad. For some reason these symptoms are not taken as seriously in the elderly as they are in younger persons.


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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by Sounder [10699.8312] on December 13, 2010 at 22:49:32:

In Reply to: Re: female heart attack symptoms posted by PhillyLady [3423.9306] on December 13, 2010 at 19:00:36:

I don't know about "elderly", but in those days people may have gutted things out more. Maybe it was just us. If I ever got antibiotics growing up...I don't remember it.


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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by Ron [3468.9304] on December 14, 2010 at 01:11:30:

In Reply to: Re: female heart attack symptoms posted by Sounder [10699.8312] on December 13, 2010 at 17:15:17:

Hi Sounder,

Have you seen any of the ads on TV about the hidden dangers due to Atrial Fibrillation
(A-Fib)?... when a clot from the heart breaks off and
heads straight for the brain....
That might not even give you time to call for help.

Wonder why A-Fib has suddenly managed to garner such attention?

Watch what happens now that Hal Hollbrook (US Afghan Envoy who just died of an Aortic Tear causes a whole new push for early testing and diagnosis of the silent killer.. the Abdominal Aortic Anuerysm.
Small consolation.. at least his estate will not be taxed at 35%.. as it would be if he died next year.




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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by k. [884.9224] on December 14, 2010 at 01:29:27:

In Reply to: female heart attack symptoms posted by samm [1003.2765] on December 13, 2010 at 13:34:03:

Thanks very much Samm, the fact that this was a personal description made it very easy to connect with. Here is something that I had saved in my file on heart attacks in women:


A Woman's Heart: Symptoms of Heart Attack
Every year hundreds of thousands of women die as the result of a heart attack or other cardiovascular disease. What many people, including many healthcare professionals, don't realize is that the symptoms of heart attack in women are often different than in men. Women are more likely to experience nausea, dizziness, and anxiety as symptoms that indicate a heart attack.


Chest pain-may also include back pain and/or deep aching and throbbing in one or both arms.


Breathlessness and/or inability to catch your breath when waking up.


Clammy sweating.


Dizziness--unexplained lightheadedness, possible blackouts.


Anxiety--unusual nervousness, feelings of impending doom.


Edema--fluid retention and swelling usually of the ankles or lower legs.


Fluttering--rapid heartbeats, palpitations.


Nausea--gastric upset.


Feeling of heaviness, such as pressure-like chest pain between the breasts that may radiate to the left arm or shoulder.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in women and it is the most preventable cause of death. Women should pay particular attention to these symptoms and seek immediate advice from a healthcare professional if these symptoms occur.



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CORRECTION -- Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by k. [884.9224] on December 14, 2010 at 01:38:28:

In Reply to: Re: female heart attack symptoms posted by k. [884.9224] on December 14, 2010 at 01:29:27:

Sorry, the link seems to go somewhere else. I guess because some time has passed, but the data in the post is good and valid.


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Re: female heart attack symptoms for Walt

Posted by Jan DeCourtney, CMT (Happygal) [7244.9090] on December 14, 2010 at 10:28:45:

In Reply to: female heart attack symptoms posted by samm [1003.2765] on December 13, 2010 at 13:34:03:

Hi Walt,

In her narrative the author said that she had a normal cholesterol count and "MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body."

I think that most of us here on this board qualify for the "long-term stress" designation. I realize that not eating sugar (i.e., following a PWFD) is one thing that prevents systemic inflammation.

I've felt I would be at risk not only due to the chronic stress/trauma I've been under most of my life, but also due to the emotions surrounding "having had my heart broken" throughout my life. I'm sure many others here have had a similar experience.

What preventive measures can we take to decrease our chances of a heart attack? Healing and prevention are even better than knowing what to do in case of a heart attack, I think (both are good ideas, though).

Namaste`
Jan


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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by samm [1003.2765] on December 14, 2010 at 13:52:14:

In Reply to: Re: female heart attack symptoms posted by Ron [3468.9304] on December 14, 2010 at 01:11:30:


Richard Holbrooke is the pol who just died. HAL Holbrook was the wonderful actor who did the one-man show, "Mark Twain Tonight" as well as appearing as a regular on Designing Women as Julia's 'bot'friend


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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by Ron [5412.9304] on December 14, 2010 at 22:34:43:

In Reply to: Re: female heart attack symptoms posted by samm [1003.2765] on December 14, 2010 at 13:52:14:

Hi Samm,

Yeah, I realized about a half hour after I posted...
I wonder if they were related...
Good for the fans that the better looking brother went to Hollywood. ;-)


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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by Sapphire [2999.8783] on December 15, 2010 at 15:35:38:

In Reply to: Re: female heart attack symptoms posted by Sounder [10699.8312] on December 13, 2010 at 22:49:32:

My 81 y/o aunt's a bit of a hypochondriac, but she also has some real health conditions (heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure). She's very intelligent, and knows the symptoms of her health conditions, and will go to the hospital if anything is wrong. She checks her BP and blood sugar levels several times a day, and takes the appropriate meds to change the levels if they're too high. All in all, I think her being a hypochondriac has extended her life. I don't think she'd be alive today if she just ignored her symptoms.


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Re: female heart attack symptoms

Posted by samm [1003.2765] on December 16, 2010 at 16:03:09:

In Reply to: Re: female heart attack symptoms posted by Ron [5412.9304] on December 14, 2010 at 22:34:43:

I think Richard had an e on the end of his name and Hal didn't. Didn't see any sibs listed in Richard's obit.
Of course, actors often have made up names.


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