Question for any women here who have survived a heart attack...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by gcvmom, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Can you tell me about your symptoms? I know they can be very different for women compared to men. I'm trying really hard not to freak out because of something that happened to me at a restaurant tonight. Part of me thinks it could have been a panic attack, and part of me is worried it might have been something more serious...

    We were waiting to order. I hadn't eaten much today so blood sugar was probably pretty low, plus I was a little short on patience and chalked it up to that. I had been having a mild little spot of pain in my left mid-back area... sort of in my ribs and below my shoulder blade.... couldn't think of a reason why that would be happening. Then out of the blue I started feeling sort of faint, I felt like I had to concentrate on breathing, and I had this feeling like I was going to die. No other pain, though. It lasted about two minutes. I quickly grabbed easy child's milk and took a swig because I though it was just a blood sugar issue. husband put some sugar in my water and I sipped that until my food came, and once I started eating, I felt a lot better, but I felt kinda surreal if that makes any sense. I know I've been under a lot of stress for the past six months because of difficult child issues and especially the past month because of my dad. I've been staying up way too late and sleeping in late a lot. Trying to cope as best I can, but things around here have not been a priority lately.

    So maybe this was just a panic attack? But then a few hours later I was laying in bed watching TV and the back pain thing came back for little bit -- I mean on a scale of 1-10, it was maybe a 2 or 3, so not alarming, just in a place where I've never had this before. Then it went away. A half hour later I was sitting up in bed using the laptop, when I got this pain that started in the left side of my neck (front) and then radiated up to my left jaw -- like a nerve pain -- not throbbing or anything intense at all. And it was gone after about 30 seconds. But I started to feel really anxious while that was going on.

    So I'm feeling o.k. now. It's nearly midnight here. Am I just losing my mind? Should I go pop an aspirin to be safe? I feel like such a moron...:(
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    1. Go take an aspirin.
    2. If you have the pain again, go to the ER to be checked. Yes I know that is the last thing you want to have to do, but do it anyway.
    3. If you don't have the pain again by morning, call your doctor and tell them the symptoms and that you need to be checked NOW.

    *Plops on brand new nurses cap*

    Women typically have symptoms quite different from men, although they can also have the classic symptoms. You've just described several of them. jaw/neck pain in women is common, as well as the back pain in the mid back area. This may be a warning there is something on the horizon and it needs to be checked immediately.

    Mine started with a strange pain in the chest. I'm not even sure how to describe it. Pressure is best, but I didn't have the elephant sitting on it feeling like I've heard many people describe. At first it came and I tried to find excuses for it. Then when it came it radiated even more painfully down my left arm. But if I sat down for a while it would eventually go away. So again I tried to make excuses......even though instinct was telling me otherwise. husband wanted to go to walmart and for some reason I don't recall now I felt it important for me to go with him. I'd been having the pain with the arm thing on and off during the afternoon. When it hit me in walmart I nearly went to my knees. I knew in no uncertain terms I was in trouble. But being the person I am......I made husband take me home instead of going to the ER like I should have. I was certain if I just sat down it would go away again. An hour later it was worse and I called easy child because by that time it was radiating up my neck and into my jaw. After promptly bawling me out (which I deserved) she made husband drive me to the ER.

    And even though I hee hawed around even though I knew better.........I was fortunate enough not to have any significant damage to my heart.

    Pray it's only anxiety and get yourself checked out as fast as possible. By the time I finally got to the hospital my blood pressure was through the roof and my heart rate was erratic If I'd continued being stubborn.......

    Anxiety though doesn't usually manifest that way. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thank you, nurse Lisa :bigsmile:

    I did chew an aspirin a bit ago, just in case... I will go into urgent care tomorrow if anything else weird happens. Promise. I HAVE had panic attacks before, but never usually out of the blue. There's usually a trigger that I can specifically identify. This time, there really wasn't anything obvious (other than a difficult child and a difficult child-husband across the table from me being idiots). About three or four months ago, I was woken up in the middle of the night by my heart absolutely racing. It had to be over 150, and I felt panicked. My psychiatrist said in some rare cases people can have panic attacks come on while they are sleeping, especially if they are under a lot of stress. And I was at the time. But that was just a completely new thing that had never ever happened before. None of my "awake" panic attacks involved any kind of heart-related issues.

    Ahhh... just what a need, more crap to worry about and keep me up late again tonight! :rofl:
  4. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Umm, Aspirin is good but you need to call your doctor this morning. You have had 3 episodes in less than 12hrs and if it returns, run don't walk to the ER. in my humble opinion.
    It's what I would do for someone I love.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I haven't read all the responses- sorry, I wanted to hurry and respond. Call your dr right away or go to a walk-in after hours clinic. They will probably give you an EKG but can also order the echo cardio stress test (or something like that- I might have those words out of order). This is where they put you ion a treadmill and do an ultrasound of your heart after your heart starts pumping real fast. A cardiologist watches the heart pumping and checks the flow of blood and rate it's going thru your body. The test helps determine the rsik of a blod clot somewhere as well as the heart..

    I was having chest pains about five years ago and wasn't suree if it could be a heart attack about to happen. I got that test done and it turned out to be ok.
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    That sounds similar to the symptoms I was having several months ago when I went to the ER. Turned out to be nothing, but still...get checked out. Please.
  7. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    My symptoms were initially primarily in the hollow of my throat and jaw. I had that going on for a long time - couple years. Then one day it happened again (it was happening daily by that time), but it felt different in a way I couldn't explain. Then I had pain in the upper part of my back into my shoulders. Then I had the pain - like nerve pain - down my left arm. Of course, I let this go on for about 5 days so it had a chance to spread - even went out to eat and to Walmart to get rabbit food, took my daughter to the doctor 30 minutes away. By day 5, I couldn't walk across the room without becoming out of breath. I never had chest pain. My point in telling you what I did during that time, is that heart attacks are not generally the drama we see on tv with someone clutching their chest and collapsing to the floor. And for the record, my EKG was normal, but I still ended up with 4 stents.

    With my most recent episode of unstable angina, I had a squeezing pain in my chest. My heart was fine and my doctor thinks I was having some tachycardia.

    Anyway, if it happens again go to the ER. If it doesn't, still call your doctor Monday morning as soon as they open, and take an aspirin every day until then. Skip urgent care. If they think it might be your heart, they'll just send you to the ER and you'll have wasted time.
  8. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    All good advice given and unfortunately nothing in that aspect to add. But wanted to chime in that I agree and hope you do get checked out. If it IS panic attacks manifesting in new ways, it will help you handle them and probably minimize them a bit, to have the stress of concern about your heart put to rest. I agree that most of what you say doesn't relate to my own personal experiences with panic attacks however they can affect people in different ways. I do know all about panic attacks during sleep. I don't have racing heartbeat during daytime panic attacks. However after years of having them, I started getting them in the night. I'd be fast asleep and bolt awake in the throws of one and my heart would be racing away and I'd find it hard to take breathes. It took a while for me to figure out that was what it was (panic attacks) because I only have them in that way when they wake me up. Panic attacks feel horrible but i hope that is what it is. If it is, now is probably a good time to talk to a doctor about something for anxiety, as nothing worse for someone with panic attacks than also being woken by them. There is help to decrease them. On the other hand, I will feel all better when you post you had tests and a check up and got the all clear. Keep us informed okay?
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The only time I had heart problems was when I was pregnant with Tyler. My heart would race and race, sometimes for hours. It was very painful and after about a week I went to the OB for a checkup. He got pretty angry at me for not calling him and/or going to the ER immediately. I have a family history of the racing heartbeat so I just figured it was no big deal, none of my family members did much about it. I also had back pain and pain in my left arm. As I knew I had a messed up disc in my neck I assumed the pain was that. I ended up being squeezed in to see a guy who specialized in heart problems in pregnant women (who would have thought cardiology and obstetrics would be that specialized??). It did put me into a high risk pregnancy group, and about 2 weeks later I went onto bedrest (well, couch rest really - I had 2 kids at home!) There WAS a problem but it was only during pregnancy and not uncommon.

    Gcvmom, we LOVE you. We are worried and scared for you. If it happens again, don't get in the car and drive to the ER. Call an ambulance - esp if there is no one at home to drive you. Heart disease is nothing to mess around with. At the very least call your doctor first thing in the morning. Don't worry about "bothering" him on a weekend - he is used to it!

    Keep us posted often, please!
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I take a baby aspirin every day. I think that once you hit about 40, it's a good idea. Do get yourself checked out.
  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thank you ladies! I didn't notice any problems at all today. But I will call my GP Monday to check in. I have my annual gyn appointment. on Friday and they usually do a complete blood panel for me, so that part will get addressed as well. And I'll also call the psychiatrist to let him know that my current medications aren't quite covering all the bases. Weird thing is that I don't really feel any more stressed than usual. But then, it's very likely that I've habituated myself to dealing with a boatload of garbage on a daily basis, lol! And in my case, the boat is starting to sink, Know what I mean?? I know my hair has been falling out at a fairly consistent rate for the past three or four months, and that has to be a sign that I've reached a threshold of sorts.

    Guess I'll go pop another aspirin tonight to be safe. I know at my gyn appointment. last year, the nurse practitioner recommend that I take a 1/4 tablet daily as a matter of prevention. I think I stuck with it for about a week! :tongue:
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It should be checked out.

    Also, there are other possible conditions to consider, including gall bladder (that pain in the back can be a sign of liver or gall bladder). Carefully write down your description of how it felt and what happened, so you have a good account to hand to the doctor.

    Let us know how you get on.

  13. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    I don't want to be a panic-monger. Let's just say that I second what Fran says. Please don't wait until Friday. Please go as soon as possible. I say that because I care about you.

    Love, Esther
  14. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    ditto....if you have another episode, go to the ER. Better to be safe than sorry. You probably read the thread about my mother in law. Don't fall into the same category. I hope you are okay today, but definitely call your doctor on Monday anyway, even if you don't have any issues.
  15. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Marg, I also wondered about gall bladder, but then I read that the pain is usually on the right side of the abdomen -- no mention of left side of back. And then again, what I felt could have been completely unrelated.

    So far this weekend, so good. No more strange symptoms. I assure you all, first thing Monday I'll be on the phone to get it checked out :) Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and for all the love and concern. It's very reassuring.
  16. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Yes take care of yourself.
    Like Loth said with our loved ones becoming ill we don't need another one. :)
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Pain in the back at the tip of the shoulder blade especially, is classic for gall bladder and a number of other areas.

    I've had two liver biopsies. Each time, I had the sharp, localised pain in the back following the needle "assault" on my liver. So it's not just gall bladder that does this.

    There is also the likelihood that you could have several things going on, not just one.

    See the doctor. She's more qualified than we are!

  18. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    When in doubt - check it out. I was out and about doing errands when I started to feel "funny." I was cool and clammy enough to be sweating - which for me is odd. I generally sweat only when I am warm. I also felt a little nauseous, with a sharp pain pain in one small area of my collarbone. I remember thinking that if I didn't hurry up and get home someone would be picking me up off the floor.

    I sat for awhile at home and then headed to the urgent care center because I was feeling very apprehensive about my symptoms. My EKG was not abnormal but I still had intermittent pain. They gave me nitro and I went by ambulance to the hospital. The blood work(enzymes) done at the hospital was definitive - I was having a heart attack.

    It's important to note that symptoms vary widely. It's better to go right to a hospital and find out you're ok than to suffer irreperable damage because you hesitated to seek treatment. If you find out that you're having a panic attack do what you need to do to deal with the symptoms, even if that means dealing with another medical appointment. You are every bit as important as all the other folks that depend on you to meet their needs.
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    FWIW, I spoke to my dad today. I never knew his dad - he died while Mom was pregnant with my older brother. My grandpa had very similar symptoms to what you describe and had them on several occasions. They learned that this is what HIS heart attacks felt like. It isn't just women who can have atypical heart attack symptoms.
  20. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Okay! Okay! I hear you all loud and clear! :D Calling mañana!