Women and Heart Disease

When I woke up on January 2nd, the pain in my chest was so bad that I could barely breathe.

I’ve been a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation – or CPR – instructor for almost 20 years. One of the most important things I share with my CPR students is the importance of recognizing the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack.

My CPR training paid off that day.

When I arrived at the emergency room, the rapid response team determined that my electrocardiograph – also known as EKG or ECG — and blood work showed no indication that I was experiencing a cardiac event.

However, I was a 51-year-old female with a family history of heart disease, so the ER physician took my symptoms seriously. Throughout the evening, the ER staff monitored me closely and checked my blood for heart enzymes, a common indicator of a heart attack. Finally, a negative stress-test definitively indicated that, despite my symptoms, I was not experiencing a cardiac event.

My own mother wasn’t as lucky.

Twenty-three years ago, I rushed my mom to the same ER. She was experiencing angina and shoulder pain, but — despite her symptoms and her history of heart disease – the ER doctor sent her home because her labs and electrocardiograph were “normal.”

My mother died four days later.

Fortunately, healthcare providers today recognize that female cardiac events can look very different than those of men; in fact, women’s cardiac events are often atypical.

However, 8.6 million women die from heart disease every year, making it the number one killer of women worldwide. In order to raise awareness of this deadly – and preventable – disease, the American Heart Association created Go Red For Women – a passionate, emotional social initiative designed to empower and inform women about heart health.

To learn more about heart disease and how you can take charge of your heart health, visit Go Red for Women.

Author: Eva Tordoff

source for image: http://healthwebonline.com/womens-health/signs-of-heart-attacks-for-women/

 

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