Heart Disease Week, Signs of the Female Heart Attack

by Jamie Namock on February 24, 2012

I first wanted to share my own story  personal heart disease and why I am posting this article. I had been feeling sick for about a week.  I had chest congestion aches, pains, coughing and weakness. Early Tuesday morning, 8/30/11, around 2a.m. I woke up feeling just miserable. I was nauseous and having some very persistent pain in my back. My wife Teresa rubbed my back and that felt better and I went back to sleep. Later that morning I was still sick but I was starting to get better. Good enough to work  most of the day. The next day, 8/31/11 around 11:30 a.m. I began feeling a lot more pain from the bottom of my rib cage up. Everything was hurting, arms, neck, head, back and chest.  I went to my local urgent care thinking I just had a severe cold or maybe even the flu. The doctor did an X-ray on my chest and gave me a prescription for some extra strength cough medicine and sent me home. Meanwhile my pain level was increasing. My loving and caring wife just knew there was something else going on with me so she consulted one of her nurse friends. After listening to my symptoms my wife’s friend had said “I don’t want to alarm you but he is probably having a heart attack” and with that we rushed to the hospital. I want to Thank my wife and her friend Lisa for saving my life.


The story below was sent to me from one of my clients, Gwen, author of the article is unknown. I want to share this with you because many women also have heart attack and the symptoms are not always so pronounced as they are in men but still just as deadly.


I am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event that I
have ever heard. Please read, pay attention, and send it on!


I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best
description I’ve ever read.

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.

‘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
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.

Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER – you are a hazard to others on the

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). MIs 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.

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

*Please be a true friend and send this article to all your friends (male &
female) who you care about!*

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