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Brittany2012
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Posted on Tue, Oct 07, 2008 14:38

Someone passed this along to me...good to know information! NURSE'S HEART ATTACK EXPERIENCE 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 :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 p.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 abl e 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 w here 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 driv e 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.


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Auno
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Posted on Mon, Oct 13, 2008 11:10

I woke up with slight discomfort in my chest.. as day progressed my breath was more shallow could not breathe deeply at all..my chest beginning to feel like an elephant was setting on it slowly pressing it weight on ..I was very dizzy when I stood up.. it was beginning to be heard to speak.. ..My so called spouse said nothing was wrong with me and then went on to work.. I said I was calling 9-1-1 if I could reach the phone.. so he calls our daughter and said I needed to be taken up on some errands and left...when I got to the hospital was in the middle of a heartattack.. I did take asprin that helped.. I spent 4 days in ICU...over nothing.. lol Six months later had another mild heart attack .. begged him to take me to the hospital he told me to go to bed it will go away... WRONG.. I laid down..it got worse.. when he went to sleep. called daughter and end up in ICU for 4 days... the symptions were the same.. with the addition of the left side of my neck went numb and my left arm went numb.. and this time severe stabbing pain around my heart.. After reading and hearing..It is surprising how womens symptons are different from mens... sometimes it could feel like slight indigestion that you had not felt before .. and be a major killer... From experience Ladies.. if it feels a degree off please be checked.. better safe than leaving a family behind for someone else to raise..Don't be sorry.. My Uncle had a slight discomfort in his chest it was a different degree of feeling.. he went to the doctor DOc said nothing wrong because he did not have more symptons.. My uncle went home and died with a major heartattack..be cause the doc did not take his discomfort seriously..


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negz123
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Posted on Thu, Oct 09, 2008 15:19

Hello all, I'm a new member here and was perusing through the different blogs on this site and come across this topic. I thought I could share some ideas as this is the job I do. I am a cardiac nurse and my day to day scenario are people getting in and out of the Cath lab suffering MI's (myocardial Infarct) or Heart attack and we get to fix them or send them for bypass surgery or if lucky enough send home with medication prescription. Very interesting to know that now a days it's not about age and gender to have this disease. I come across this 26 year old healthy looking man and a triathlete but needs pacemaker or a 32 year old woman needing bypass graft because of triple vessel disease. It's not exact science but yes, genes,your cholesterol level, high blood pressure,smoking, diabetes factors in. You will be surprise that HIGH STRESS level can tear up/weakens your artery wall and can cause a heart attack type of symptoms. Majority of the population are women, type A personality! So when you get that chest pain (tight pressure, stabbing, heaviness ) either radiating to your jaw down to your left arm, nauseated, sweaty, short of breath triggerred either by exertion or at rest, don't put it aside. Go to the nearest emergency, time is important. The quicker you get to the table (for Angiogram) the higher you chance for survival! See your doctor if you're having this on and off symptoms and get a referral to a heart specialist. Have your exercise test or ECG done, blood cholesterol check and your pressure as well. Peace of mind, that's all you need to get a good sleep. Cheers! N.B. Will not hurt to ask your doctor for aspirin when you hit the age of 40 up.


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READY4UNOW
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Posted on Tue, Oct 07, 2008 18:06

Thanks Britt! This is a very timely post indeed! My Mom it turns out has just had a minor heart attack, they don't know when, but from her description, it happened on Sun. night, the day before her surgery. She said she got very cold, couldn't get warm, then her one hand went a bit blue, she felt light headed and woozy. She didn't think much of it as she was drinking a bowel cleanse which is pretty hard on your system in preparation for her surgery. Now it turns out from the ECG and echo that she's definitely had the attack, they don't know when and may not be able to determine that either. They may want to do an angiogram to see if there's blockage, damage or what have you, but that too has some risk. Everyone's symptoms can be different, as your post shows, better to be safe than sorry and if it's a false alarm, so be it. Our bodies always talk to us, but some listen and are in tune more so than others, so paying attention when something is different and not quite right is so essential. Thanks for this great information and for sharing.


What is love? Love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone but still getting weak knees when they walk into a room and smile at you. :)

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The_Rose
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Posted on Tue, Oct 07, 2008 15:14

kitten, there is a necklace available that one can wear,and when pushed emergency services are contacted to where ever you are.


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