I don’t usually write about personal issues on my blog but I want to share this experience I had at the beginning of the week because the consequences of ignoring it could have been fatal. I haven’t been feeling great the past few weeks and even went to my doctor to complain about feeling “off.” She didn’t find anything wrong and sent me home. On Monday morning of this week I was running errands and felt a pressure on my chest, nothing alarming, but troubling. I happened to be close to the medical clinic where I go so I stopped in and asked for a blood pressure check. Within 30 minutes I was in an ambulance on my way to the ER at a large local hospital. My blood pressure was 190 / 110. I’ve haven’t seen people move so fast in a very long time. After hours of testing, being hooked up to numerous machines, lots of medication, and a trip to x-ray they determined that I didn’t have a heart attack, and instead had viral pneumonia. I’m home now, on medication, resting, and feeling better every day. It was a very scary experience and all I could think of during that ambulance ride was that I might never see my family again. We all have read that heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death in women, mainly because we don’t pay attention and get help. We shrug it off and concentrate on taking care of others. So please, please, please get immediate help if you experience any of the warning signs of heart attack or stroke. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Call 911 instead of trying to drive yourself to the hospital. You might not make it and ambulance patients get into the ER much faster than people who show up on their own. I hope my story will prompt you to immediately get help if you even think you have any of the symptoms of a heart attack. Getting help quickly makes all the difference and will probably save your life.
Information from the American Heart Association:
Many women think the signs of a heart attack are unmistakable — the image of the elephant comes to mind — but in fact they can be subtler and sometimes confusing.
You could feel so short of breath as though you ran a marathon, but you haven’t made a move. Some women experiencing a heart attack describe upper back pressure that feels like squeezing or a rope being tied around them. Dizziness, lightheadedness or actually fainting are other symptoms to look for. Many women take an aspirin if they think they are having a heart attack and never call 9-1-1. But if they think about taking an aspirin for their heart attack, they should also call 9-1-1.
Heart Attack Signs in Women
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
- 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 get to a hospital right away.