Taking Heart Health Month To My Heart

Hi everyone, sorry for the late post, I had a test scheduled for today and was just a little too anxious and nervous to sit and write my post this morning.  It’s ironic that I would develop some really minor “concerns” which would prompt my sweet Dr. Patel to schedule a Heart Ultrasound with a Cardiac Treadmill Stress Test today especially since February is “Heart Health Month.”

Do you know that according to the American Heart Association, 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease and it’s the cause of one out of every three women’s deaths every year?  Since 1984, more women than men die of heart disease each year and it’s because many times, the symptoms for women are different than they are for men so women brush these signs and symptoms aside and ignore them.

My nervousness about the test came more from the fact that many years ago my dad, who was not that much older than I am right now, went in for a test and ended up going into emergency surgery when they found a blockage that they called “the widow maker.”  It was a really scary time for us.  Added to the stress of remembering that day was the knowledge that my brother John, 10 years younger than I am, has had a couple of heart attacks so I was just a little nervous.  Family history is not on my side….on either family side, there is a history of heart disease in both my mom and dad’s families as a matter of fact.

Yes I have high blood pressure and am on medication however my cholesterol numbers are great.  I am 56 years old and Dr. Patel has told me on more than on occasion that he has twenty year olds that don’t have cholesterol numbers as good as mine.  I am not a smoker, have never smoked and drink less than a “social drinker.”  I don’t think I even hit the “occasional drinker” limit.  But those are just a few things that factor into heart disease and shouldn’t be used as the only basis for concern.

Although he didn’t have to, I really could have gone by myself Walt took the day off of work so he could go with me.  I have to say that even though I tried to talk him out of taking the day off, I was more than relieved that he went with me.  I don’t know why, but it was comforting to know he was sitting in the waiting room, reading a book, waiting for me to come out.  And yes, before I went in I did give him some “family” instructions just in case.

Of course it did not go exactly without an issue.  Ladies, I don’t care what anyone says, bigger, as in overly endowed, is not better, I would be happy to be small or even flat chested.  Because of this, the ultrasound tech was having difficulty with the ultrasound portion of the exam so they had to start an IV with dye so they could better see how the walls of my heart were pumping before and after a stint on the treadmill.

The three ladies who were my “stress test team,” the cardiologist, the cardiologist nurse, and the cardiologist ultrasound tech were awesome.  They made sure I understood what they were doing every step of the way.  They showed me what they were monitoring and it was interesting to watch my heart beating on the ultrasound image, especially after I got off of the treadmill.  It was beating so fast!  Technology is amazing.

I am happy to report that I got through the test.  I am sure I passed, obviously since they allowed me to leave, told me to have a great dinner date with my husband and now I am home writing this post so naturally I assume that I must have passed the test.  I was proud of myself that while on the treadmill the goal was for my heart to reach a rate of at least 140, I was able to get to 145.  I have to wait to get the official results from Dr. Patel on Friday but I think he’s going to release me and tell me that I can start walking again on the treadmill and resume my workout so I’ll be ready to walk outside in the spring.

The worst part of today was really the lack of caffeine and the horrible headache I got because I wasn’t allowed to have caffeine since yesterday.  Lack of caffeine on top of fasting this morning resulted in a terrible, horrible headache.  Once we left Beaumont Walt took me for iced tea and as I finished up the second glass of tea I could feel the headache subside just a little.  Eating dinner along with iced tea then helped get rid of the headache.

My message to everyone today:

Remember, even if the signs are subtle, the results can be deadly……don’t ignore the signs.  Today, instead of a tasty recipe, I am going to leave you with something much better………..From my heart, to your heart….know the signs and don’t ignore them because just like a good love story, heart attacks aren’t always so apparent or dramatic as they appear in a Hollywood movie.

Heart Attack Signs in Women

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

Don’t take your heart for granted…..for more information visit the American Heart Association’s website at; http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Heart-Attack-Symptoms-in-Women_UCM_436448_Article.jsp

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2 thoughts on “Taking Heart Health Month To My Heart

    • Thank you and you’re welcome….I thought even if posting the “signs” made just one person take note it would be well worth the effort to include them. I’ve gotten some great feedback and personal e-mails from people who’ve decided to have a check up or talk to their parents about a check-up. I’m so glad that I got over my “too personal to post” moment and shared my experience. Have a great day!

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