Saturday, April 21, 2007

A woman's heart attack

I just received an e-mail from a reader of my newsletter warning others about the unusual presentations of heart attacks in women. This e-mail describes one woman's attack of 'indigestion' that was, in fact, a heart attack hitting her as she curled up in her recliner reading a book.

I clearly recall a woman coming in to my office in the aftermath of a bout of 'stomach flu' several days previous. She described nausea, vomiting, fatigue, I agreed with her diagnosis, we both agreed she was on the mend. She showed up three days later in congestive heart failure from the massive heart attack she'd suffered that seemed to be stomach flu. When she initially came, it was already to late to save any of her heart, but I certainly took this lesson to heart.

A heart attack may not send you sweating to the racquetball court floor with crushing chest pain. Take unusual and persistent symptoms in your chest or upper abdomen seriously, and call for help sooner than later. No shame in finding out you're really okay instead of finding out too late that you should've sought help.

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