Straight from the heart . . .

Straight from the heart . . .

Celebrity's heart attack gets national attention!

We all heard the news this past week about Rose O'Donnell, age 50, suffering a heart attack.  When you have a heart attack at this age, like I did, the first thing people say to you is that "you are too young" to be in here for this!  Considering that heart disease can start developing in your twenties and thirties, unfortunately, we aren't too young.


While you hate to hear of anyone experiencing this, one thing we know is that when it happens to a celebrity, it makes national news and that, in turn, can grab everyone's attention.  In Rosie's case, she first thought the pain and soreness she was experiencing was from when she had helped (in her words) "enormous woman struggling to get out of her car/ she was stuck," while Rosie was walking through a parking lot.  Honestly, when you reach a certain age, you have more aches and pains; it takes us longer to recover when we over do it.  


And, like most women, Rosie kept pushing through her day.  How many of us do this?  In my case, I had always measured pain against giving natural childbirth (twice!).  If it didn't hurt as bad as that, I could make it!  Needless to say, I have a whole new benchmark for pain after the heart attack!


Once Rose's symptoms increased to include nausea, vomiting, being hot, and having clammy skin, she thought this might be something more ... perhaps she was having a heart attack.  She remember seeing the Bayer Aspirin commercials.  She popped the pills and now says that's what saved her life!   Even after all of this, though, she still had not called 911 or gone to see a doctor!  Like a lot of women, she probably thought, "not me!"


It wasn't until the next day that she went to a cardiologist who, after doing an EKG on her, sent her to the hospital to have a stent put in.  Her LAD was 99% blocked ... the area nicknamed "the widow maker."  I would venture to say that it was more than aspirin that had something to do with her still being here today.


I actually watched the news story on this while I was at cardiac rehab.  The nurses immediately turned up the volume and we were all kind of amazed that Rosie admitted she really didn't know the symptoms of a heart attack in women and that she didn't call 911 after taking the aspirin.  


It really made me stop and wonder how many more women there are out there just like Rosie? Women who push through the pain, are in denial that it could be them, who don't know the symptoms or what to do.   How many of have symptoms but they are so closely compared to those of menopause or the flu or we think of how it presents in men ... that we just don't think "heart attack!"  I knew the symptoms of a heart attack and still thought my symptoms were something else since we were all down with the flu.  It wasn't until the cold sweats and the pain became disabling that I came to that conclusion.


According to a letter written by a volunteer for, "The latest data show that only one in five women believe heart disease is their greatest health threat, and 46 percent -- nearly half -- say they would do something other than call 911 if they were experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack."


We need to change that!


Recently, I received this wallet card from Piedmont Medical Center.   I would suggest that you print it and put it in your wallet.  It is essential that we educate women because heart disease kills MORE women than all of the cancers combined INCLUDING breast cancer!  



The next time you are at a gathering with your female friends, or at a meeting at work, look around at the women in the room.  For every third women, I want you to visualize their headstone.  That is our reality, ladies!  One out of every three women will die from heart disease.  If it isn't you, it could be your mother, your sister, your best friend, your old college roommate! 


Share this blog with all of your female friends, family members and co-workers.  If heart disease runs in your family, talk to your doctor and learn how you can PREVENT this from happening to you!   Do it for yourself, do it for your family!



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