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The Heart of a Woman

Heart Disease: Why It's Different for Women

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  • Hi ladies I'm new! I'm 36 but a year ago I was having surgery for a hernia and had to have test done. Well in the process of lying there with wires all over me and the machine going. The results came back that I had 2% blockage and the electrical function of my heart wasn't operating on point. I was shocked! I was stressed going thru somethings and I was having chest pains, pain in my left arm and dizziness a year before. I told my doctor and she checked me out and nothing. She said that it was the stress and I'm healthy, just try to relax. I'm so scared that I could've been having a heart attack or leading towards one now that I've heard your stories. Both of my grandmothers died from heart failure so I know I have to be careful. I'm more conscience of that now then ever before. Thank you for your stories! This is truly eye opening
  • I'm 37 yrs old and just had a heart attack Nov. 20th of this year. 37 in good health...well what I thought was good health. I eat healthy, I exercise, my weight is in a healthy range, I dont smoke, don't drink, not on birth control, blood pressure is low I average 106/60's range, cholestrol levels are just fine. But have a family history of heart disease.

    Thankfully I had all the classic signs of a heart attack. Chest started to hurt, then my arms more my left than right but both still hurt, then pain went into my jaw and then both hands started to tingle...at that point I was smart enought to say I need an ambulance. I was on my way to a clinic with a friend but told her to stop and call 9-1-1 instead.

    While in the ER doc's there really thought I was having a panic/or/anxiety attack.....found out 10 minutes prior to onset of my heart attack that my sister in law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was hooked to the EKG machine, blood drawn etc....everything was checking out to be okay. I complained that my chest hurt was hooked to an IV with nitro and given all sorts of pills for this and that. It wasn't until my second set of blood test came back and it said positive for can't remember now what enyzme but came back way over the normal level. I was treated at that point very differently.

    The cardiologist wasn't expecting to find any blockage. To his surprise though he found 100% blockage with a blood clot, then several smaller ones leading up to the bigger one. I had a stent put in me and now I have several appointments with him over the next few months.

    This has made me re-think everything that I do and what I eat. Even though I follow SP plans and my own I have realized I do eat too much processed foods still. I'm cutting back on sodium never tracked it before now that has been a real eye opener for me. I want off the stupid medications that I'm on now so I will do everything in my power to get off these med's.

    I never thought being 37 yrs old I would have a cardiologist, would of had angioplasty done and a stent put in me. Have 2 appointments a month for the next 4 months set up with the cadiologist. I go back in just a few weeks for a stress test and then a week later I go back for another ultrasound of my heart and he will be doing an ultrasound of all my veins...at my request. He was just going to do ultrasound of my neck, heart but I asked him if possible to do entire body and he said whatever makes me happy...so it will be the entire body.

    You need to be mindful of your own body and if you feel anything and I mean anything that could be wrong you need to be seen by a doctor. I asked him about the tightness I would get when I would get mad at the kids or if I was yelling my chest gets really tight and heavy felt like it was going to explode....he told me those were my signs.....signs that i had for nearl 2 yrs.
    Tracy
  • CWARGO
    I recently had open heart surgery. I had a valve replaced. Other than that, I have a healthy heart. I am truly concerned about my heart, especially now. However everything I read is about heart disease or heart attack or by-pass surgery. How can I find what I need and that is geared to my problem?
  • GINGERPEACHY
    This article was pretty informative--particularly enumerating the actual symptoms of a heart attack for women.
  • I also was well aware of my family's history of heart disease. At least aware enough to stop and 'watch' myself whenever I had a chest pain. Finally, I went to a cardiologist and told him of my chest pains. His reaction was not good -- he wouldn't speak to me (only spoke to my DH), decided I was a nervous nellie and many women in my age group would have this same type of nervous reaction. This visit was a b-day present to myself to try and work to a higher level of leath (I had lost 120 lbs a year previously). Instead, a month after my b-day I had my first heart attack at 40 (for my DH's b-day). Since then I have had 2 stents put in place, had numerous tests on my coronary arteries, had one more heart attack (I coded 2-3 times), and recently had another check up to be told one artery was completely blocked just past a stent, and another was extremely blocked but they were very small and I should be okay. I was also told I needed to have gastric bypass done or I would have maybe 10 years of illness and physical problems but with the bypass I could conceivably have 40 years. Guess which option I chose -- yup, bypass. So now I'm waiting for this.

    At my original cardiologist visit, I was just turning 40 in a few weeks, I was a heavy smoker, about 90 pounds overweight, had been on birth control pills for a number of years, was a diabetic not in good control, and had a father who died at the age of 42 from a massive coronary. Hmm. I had every risk factor yet the doctor still said it was nerves.

    We women have really got to watch ourselves. Now that we are striving to break the glass ceiling and working too many hours, eating improperly, etc. we have landed right in the center of coronary city. Please watch out for yourselves.

    jo ann
  • I am aware of my own family's history of heart disease, and am working with my doctors to reduce my own risk. I have reduced my sodium intake, my cholesterol is ok, and my blood pressure is well controlled. One tool in the fight is, of course, SparkPeople! I get daily encouragement to get moving, to record what I eat, and perhaps most importantly, stay in contact with my SparkTeams, to receive, and to give, encouragement from others, and to others.

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