Barbara's Beat: Warning signs of my heart attack #GoRedForWomen #NationalWearRedDay

Friday, February 5, 2016

Warning signs of my heart attack #GoRedForWomen #NationalWearRedDay

 13th Annual National Wear Red Day

 Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women, yet it’s 80% preventable.

Today, I am wearing red for Go Red for Women®, and hope you are too. I was very disappointed none of the Charlotte news anchors wore red today. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States.   

I go to the doctor regularly. No one has ever told me I was at risk for a heart attack. Not knowing the signs of heart disease could have cost me my life.

Last year I had a heart attack in the middle of the night. Thank God, I was awake at the time or the outcome may have been different. 

Living in chronic pain made it difficult for me to recognize the signs, but as they multiplied I knew something was wrong. First, there was pain in my upper left arm, shoulder and neck, which bothered me and kept me from going to sleep. Then my upper back began hurting, although I was use to having pain there I knew this was different. Then the chest pains started. I thought to myself, "I'm having a heart attack." 

I began a search on Google for signs of a heart attack for women. About the time I found the information, my jaws were tightening, I was in extreme pain and having breathing problems. 

About 30 minutes had passed from the first sign of pain until I knew for sure I was having a heart attack. I woke up my husband, got dressed and headed to the hospital scared to death wondering if I waited too long.

When we arrived, there was a sign that read, "If you think you're having a heart attack tell us immediately." So we cut in front of an elderly man to let them know and I was rushed to the back room and hooked up to the EKG.

It took seconds for them to confirm I was having a heart attack. When they gave me a dose of Nitroglycerin, the pain disappeared. It was like a miracle. The next thing I knew the were performing surgery. 

Timing is critical when a person is having a heart attack. I was lucky God was watching over me. I shouldn't have waited so long and I should have called 9-1-1.  

Heart Attack Warning Signs in Women
  • Chest Discomfort
  • Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Discomfort in other parts of the upper body  
  • Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. 
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and/or get to a hospital right away. It's better to be safe than sorry. Your life depends upon it. That's why I am a heart attack survivor.



Some Lucky Dog said...

Barbara, Happy to hear you recognized something was wrong and took action! I'd like to add that if you think you may be having a heart attack you should call 911 and get the professionals there. You'll most likely get help much sooner than driving to the hospital on your own and if symptoms worsen while in transit the EMTs can provide care to keep you alive! Women's heart health really needs to be talked about more. So many women don't realize that we have symptoms different than men. Thanks for your post!

Brenda said...

Wow, praise God you recognized the symptoms and went to the hospital in time! What a scary thing to go through. Thankfully all our news people here near San Diego, CA, wore red. Also, the skilled nursing facility my dad is in, recovering from his hospital stay, really promoted wear red - all the staff and even the permanent residents all wore red. It was neat to see.

AM Nichols said...

Oh my gawd! But anyone reading this should call 911 if they think they're having a heart attack, especially if they have to drive themselves to the ER. You don't want to get behind the wheel!
I thought I was having a stroke and called 911. It wasn't a stroke or a heart attack. I actually had a brain tumor (not cancerous, thank goodness). I did call an ambulance, which was good, because as soon as I got to the ER, I had a grand mal seizure. Imagine if I was behind the wheel!
I'm so glad you are doing better and are around to share your story.