Doctors believe heart attacks symptoms can go unnoticed in women

Posted at 11:46 AM, Feb 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-09 12:57:32-05

February is American Heart month, and each year millions of men and women die from heart failure because they're unaware of the symptoms associated with the disease.

People often expect to feel pain or discomfort in the chest area like tightness or pressure, but doctors say there are other unusual signs that people should be aware of.

Studies show during a heart attack it may be harder for women to recognize the signs. 72-year-old Barbara Kinsey said she experienced unusual symptoms recently when she had a heart attack.

“The day that I experienced a heart attack it was kind of just like a normal day. Normally when I feel sick to my stomach I grab a cold wash cloth go lay down and close my eyes,” Kinsey said.

But that night around 11:30 she woke up feeling severe nausea and decided to seek help.

“I thought maybe I should check my blood pressure,” Kinsey said.

After recognizing her blood pressure was very low and her heart rate was beating at 45 beats per minute she quickly acted.

“So my first though was it looks like I’m tanking here. That’s when I unlocked the door and then called 9-1-1. Once EMS arrived they asked me the classic questions about heart attacks, do you have chest pain, pressure, do you have jaw pain, arm pain,” Kinsey said.

Kinsey said she wasn’t experiencing any of those symptoms, but thanks to first responders performing an electrocardiogram, they quickly realized the problem.

Senior Cardiologist from Baylor Scott and White, Dr. Allan Anderson said Kinsey was experiencing an active heart attack.

“If blood supply is cut off or diminished the heart muscle will die,” Anderson said.

Due to rapid response times, doctors on standby could use a STEMI to restore the blood flow in almost one hour. This is a common procedure for heart attack patients that Baylor Scott & White professionals perform more than 100 times a year.
Dr. Anderson said because Mrs. Kinsey didn’t hesitate to call for help she limited her chances of
receiving further heart damage.

“She had minimal damage, we want people to have normal functioning hearts not damaged hearts,” Anderson said.

Dr. Anderson said there are other risk factors he encourages people to be aware of that can increase the risk of having a heart attack.

This includes:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history as it pertains to heart disease
  • if you’re a smoker

These are all very important factors that will help people understand their chances of being effected by the disease.

Mrs. Kinsey said she was just happy to have that team help restore her major life line.

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