This morning after my daily bike ride I ran into a nearby neighbor that I had not seen in a few weeks. We engaged in a casual conversation at the mailbox and I asked her if she had been on vacation since I have not seen her lately. I felt like a bad neighbor when she told me that she is recovering from open heart surgery. I was surprised as she continued telling me that she had a heart attack and two previous ones that she was not even aware happened. Silent heart attack.
Without knowing her medical history, but just by looking at her, she is not what I would consider a high-risk case. Close to my, age-mid sixties, average weight, and always on the go.
Since I am what my daughter would describe as “overly reactive person” to every ache and pain I asked her if she would mind telling me what symptoms she experienced. I’ve heard on morning talk shows and reading magazine articles that women can have different signs than a man, or maybe not any signs at all. That was just the case for her.
A few weeks before her episode she remembers having a low energy level while shopping with her grand-daughter. Another day, she felt a cough that was uncomfortable. But in both cases nothing alarming. The evening before her attack , she describes a tightening feeling across her chest, between her two shoulders. It subsided in an hour or so, and that was it.
The next morning, everything was fine and then she felt short of breath. The tightening returned and her thought was pneumonia. Her husband insisted she see the doctor and that was a lifesaving move. Upon arrival, the nurse connected her to an EKG machine. She thought why would they do this for pneumonia? The test was conclusive that she was in emergency heart failure. Within minutes they had her in an ambulance off to the closest hospital. The Emergency room staff was waiting on her, and that day she had a triple bypass. Amazing that life can change that fast.
I am happy to say she is recovering well. For all reading this here is a link for information regarding women and heart attacks.
Also the American Heart Association has a site for all