Posted by: BSR for Renewed Life | May 10, 2012

Women and Heart Attacks (MI)

I place this on my blog not knowing who the author is.  I thank the woman who wrote this sharing her experience and apologise for not being able to properly give credit where credit is due.

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 cosy 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 oesophagus 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 5:00p.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

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

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next
room and dialled 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 firsthand.

*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. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

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.


  1. Heart attack can be prevented by following daily exercise routine and also with the use of protective health supplements. *:..,

    Warm regards“>

    • Thank you for the comment Philomena. You are quite right about regular exercise.
      When it comes to supplements I am always very careful though. There are natural products and then there are chemicals that are not necessarily of benefit.
      “User Beware” is my advice. Do your homework before you embark on the supplement route.

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