My Heart Attack-
Every Heart Attack is Different.
-        Readers Share Their True Heart Attack Experiences

(Continued From Page 1)

'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
unbolt the door and then lie down on  the floor
where they could see me when they came in.

'I 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 Cardiologist 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 i '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  stents.

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

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.

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What Are the "Classic Symptoms" of a Heart Attack for
Men and Women?

Almost everyone has seen the Hollywood version of a classic
heart attack. We expect to see Fred Sanford (remember
"Sanford & Son?) grabbing his chest, staggering with a
wrenched look on his face, yelling "It's the Big One!"

But, it turns out, what a heart attack looks like to others, and
feels like to you, may be very different.

Here are the symptons the American Heart Association says
you should look out for:

Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the "movie
heart attack," where no one doubts what's happening. But
most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort.
Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too
long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a
heart attack is happening:
  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort
    in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few
    minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel
    like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms
    can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the
    back, neck, jaw or stomach.    
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.  
    Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat,
    nausea or lightheadedness   

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.
Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's
a heart attack, have it checked out. Minutes matter! Fast
action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more
than five minutes to call 9-1-1.
Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving
treatment. Emergency medical services staff can begin
treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if
someone gets to the hospital by car. The staff are also trained
to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with
chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster
treatment at the hospital, too.
If you can't access the emergency medical services (EMS),
have someone drive you to the hospital right away. If you're
the one having symptoms, don't drive yourself, unless you
have absolutely no other option.
Source: American Heart Association

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Life