My neighbor Mike is a lucky guy. Nice house, beautiful wife. He has a great job--goes out of town alot, even business trips out of the country. He just bought a brand new car that gleams as he proudly drives it into the garage. He and his wife just had a great birthday party for their beautiful one year old daughter. Yes, my neighbor Mike is a lucky guy.
A few weeks ago, Mike celebrated his 40th birthday. Then, this past Thursday night, Mike had a heart attack.
Mike's going to be fine. This attack was mild. So mild, he almost left the parking lot at the hospital and drove to the drug store for some antacids....but luckily, he did not. A scan showed his arteries were 95% blocked and they said if he'd ignored this attack, and passed it off as indigestion, that he would have likely had a massive one in the very near future. Maybe even next week when he flew to London. Apparently the cabin pressure on the plane may have triggered it. They placed a stint in his clogged artery and told him to take it easy for a couple of weeks. Mike was very lucky.
This makes me think of two things. One: We've been given one body. Take care of it. Eat right and get regular exercise. Two: Don't ever ignore the warning signs of a heart attack. Know the warning signs and don't be too stubborn or too busy to seek medical help.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading killer of women in America, accounting for over one-third of all deaths. That's more than the combined death rates from breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers.
Heart Attack Warnings Can Be Subtle
Studies on cardiac events in women reveal that many women may experience prodromal -- or early -- symptoms of cardiac distress in the days, weeks, or even months leading up to a heart attack. Unfortunately, many of these signs may be dismissed as nothing out of the ordinary -- by both women and their doctors. The most common early warning signs include:
Unusual fatigue -- Fatigue is a common complaint and one that may indicate that you're simply missing out on sleep, fighting a virus, overextending yourself, or experiencing a side effect to medication. But unusual or extreme fatigue may also be a warning sign of heart disease. In one study, more than 70% of the women surveyed experienced marked fatigue in the days or weeks prior to their heart attacks.
Sleep disturbances -- Although it's not unusual to feel tired due to a lack of sleep or a particularly demanding week or month, you should take special notice of any unusual or prolonged disturbance in your sleep patterns. A recent study revealed that almost half of the women who had recently suffered a heart attack also experienced sleep disturbances in the days or weeks leading up to their attacks.
Shortness of breath during normal daily activities, indigestion, and anxiety may also be early warning signs of cardiac distress in women.
So how do you know if your symptoms are serious? Getting into the habit of noting your typical aches and pains and your normal reactions to foods and activities may help you recognize when something is truly amiss. Also, remember that if you have risk factors for heart disease, you should be especially vigilant about monitoring how you feel. If you experience worrisome or unusual changes in your energy level, comfort, or sleep habits, you should discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider, particularly if you have heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, a smoking habit, or a sedentary lifestyle.
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