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Thread: Female Heart Attack and Stroke Symptoms. Please All Read

  1. #1
    Senior Member grocifer's Avatar
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    I apologize for the length of this post but it is important. I send this as a response to jrharrys earlier thread on her close escape.

    This is not my own personal experience but I was a ER nurse in my younger day and thought this was well worth sending on.
    I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best description I've ever read. Also Stroke symptoms can be viewed at the end.

    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.


    NURSE'S HEART ATTACK EXPERIENCE
    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 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). 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..

    If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.


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


    Now for the Stroke Symptoms --

    S *Ask the individual to SMILE.
    T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
    (i.e. It is sunny out today.)
    R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
    S` Stick out Your Tongue If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the
    other,that is also an indication of a stroke.

    A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally . He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

  2. #2
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    thanks for posting this important information

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    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    thanks

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    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing this reminder with us :D:D:D

  5. #5
    np3
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    Thanks

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    Thanks, very good to know. Recently heard that Bayer (?) had developed an aspirin that you put under your tongue and it dissolves instantly so is faster acting.

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    Super Member Judith1005's Avatar
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    thanks for the info. it was very informative.

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    Super Member suebee's Avatar
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    I had a heart attack back in 2005. It was late at night and I was sleeping sound. But then something woke me, I had this pain in my left arm pit that began to radiat about half way down my arm. I decided I need to use the restroom and got up and instantly felt flush, clammy and thought I was going to be sick. I woke my hubby,he called 9-1-1. They took to me to hospital but kept saying they didnt think I was having a heart attack. After 10 hours of tests, echos, blood tests etc.,... the blood test came back and showed my enzymes were out of whack. By this time I was in morphine heaven, dont remember much except waking up in a hospital room. The artery on the back of my heart (I think its called the circumflex artery) was 99% blocked. They inserted a stent. That was a strange thing to go thru. Ive been fine ever since. thank goodness.:) All I can say is listen to your body!!

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    Senior Member BeckyL's Avatar
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    My neighbors 63 yer old apparently healthy SIL complained of jaw pain, went to bed and never woke. They are on the way to the funeral as I write this.

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    Senior Member jrharry's Avatar
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    First I would like to say that I am so thankful that you realized the symptoms and made that call. You too are very fortunate to be with us after that experience. Thank you also for giving us such detailed information.

  11. #11
    Super Member suebee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeckyL
    My neighbors 63 yer old apparently healthy SIL complained of jaw pain, went to bed and never woke. They are on the way to the funeral as I write this.
    Ahhh, that is sad. Way to young to go. So sorry for the family.

  12. #12
    Super Member Podunk Princess's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for the detailed information. I'm glad you are ok.

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    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    Thanks.

  14. #14
    Super Member oldswimmer's Avatar
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    Here is another site to look at to remember what to do if you think you or someone else is having a stroke

    http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=symp

    Remember F_A_S_T


    Thank you grocifer for posting that story. I am sure it will help someone in the future. Very thankful that you came through that all right!

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    My DH said his hands hurt I was rubbing them when he passed he said mmmmm that feels good and he was gone

  16. #16
    Super Member no1jan's Avatar
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    Thank you for posting this information. I also had a stroke however I didn't have any of these symptoms. I woke up in the morning and couldn't see to put on my makeup thinking I had slept on my bracelet. Upon going to work after not being able to look out the window because it made me sick, I tried plugging in my laptop, which I couldn't do.

    Then I tried to go fill the coffee pot as I usually made the coffee in the office. I couldn't do that either. Apparently I felt my way back to my desk when a man from my unit came up to me and asked him if I was alright. I couldn't see his face. After telling him no, I think I had a stoke, I immediately dialed my husband and told him we needed to go to the hospital NOW!!! When I got to the hospital, the run tests and found 4 more blood clots including one in my lung.

    I have had no center vision since. I can only see half a person's face, but I can quilt! I loved my job so much I had worked on getting it for almost 10 years having to take off time for my loved ones when they were ill and dying. I am very lucky but I still can't see well, since 9/16/2003 and ended up having internal bleeding in 2005 which almost killed my. I 7 months I lost 80 pounds!

    The only symptoms I have not are occassional seizures which may be due to stress, as my brother was given 2 to 4 weeks to live and my cat is also dying.

    The other symptom I am having is insomnia, and temporary loss of memory.

    If you ever feel ANYTHING abnormal about your health, please go to the emergency room or see a Doctor immediately.

    I know there is a reason that this happened to me, I just haven't been able to figure it out yet.

    I went from $75,000. to $10,000 a year just because of this. I honestly don't want anyone else to have this problem!

    Good luck and God Bless everyone!

  17. #17
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    Thank you all for this information.

    Jan, I am so sorry you have been going through all of this. However I am very glad you are a survivor. Gentle hugs.

    Kat

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    Super Member twixbar's Avatar
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    Thank-you so much for this information.

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    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    I had a heart attack at the age of 41. I had just lost 90lbs and was eating great, my cholesterol was in the normal range but at the high end. I was sitting on my couch, reading the paper on a Sunday morning and my RIGHT arm started to ache. We had laid ceramic tile the day before so I thought it was aching from that. I got up and took some Ibuprofen and returned to reading the paper. My RIGHT arm started aching so bad I couldn't hold up the paper. I noticed a thumping in my ear, which was elevated blood pressure, and then the pain crawled up my arm to my jaw. I became nauseated but couldn't throw up. Suddenly the pain stopped. Then it came back twofold. I became clammy and sweaty. That's when the EMS was called. I didn't throw up until the EMTs got there. They did an EKG in my house and it didn't show anything abnormal. I almost refused to go to the ER. But, I am a nurse so I knew better. No lights or sirens the EMTs said. When I was in the ambulance, they did a different EKG. I could tell it was abnormal and I said, "What does that mean?" and they said You are in the middle of an MI (mycardial Infarction). Lights and sirens blaring now!! This all started at 9:30am and by 10:30 am, I was in the Cardiac Cath lab and two stents had been put in my heart. I was fortunate, I never lost conscieness and I was only hospitalized for 3 days. Unfortunately, I also did not have any health insurance as I had just started a new job. That was the main reason I did not want to go to the hospital. I'm glad that I came to my senses and did. . .

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    Power Poster alikat110's Avatar
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    Wo! That's an experience

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    Thank you !

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    a regular here countrycottage's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing this important information.

  23. #23
    Super Member trisha's Avatar
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    When I had my triple bypass in April, the Dr. said that when they opened me up my heart stopped and then expanded to 3x its size. The anesthetist freaked out and they put me on bypass immediately. Dr. said that if I hadn't come in for the surgery, I would have had a massive heart attack and would not have survived it, and thank God I had not waited until after Easter like I wanted to. On the morning of my operation I really felt quite good, and didn't have any symptoms except my blood pressure was up. So you never know ladies. Get to know your bodies, because things happen very fast. And life is to short!!!

  24. #24
    Power Poster blueangel's Avatar
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    Good information.

  25. #25
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    I have copied the info and will email to my friends tonight. And I will pay more attention to signals from my own body. Thanks for the possibly life-saving info.

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