In the Better Homes and Gardens Feb 2015 issue, an article discussed survivor stories of women who experienced heart attacks. Here are a few of their stories:
Jen Thorson, 40, ST. PAUL, MN – It was a scorching Tuesday in August, and Jen was 10 weeks into training for her second marathon. “My training should’ve been getting easier, but it felt harder,” -she says. “After 8 miles, I was dizzy and nauseous, but it was hot.” She sat on the curb for a few minutes, then pushed through and ran 9 more miles. Then, on a bike ride that Thursday, Jen felt a sharp pain between her shoulder blades, but kept going. Two days later Jen had a spicy Thai dinner with a girlfriend, and afterward, pain in her back, arms, and upper abdomen kept her awake all night, but she chalked it up to heartburn. “I did a Web search for ‘back pain or arm pain’ with ‘reflux’ and found an article that mentioned heart attack, she says. Then, as if on cue, she broke out in a cold sweat. Jen decided to go to the emergency room, just in case, and sure enough, she was having a heart attack.
Mary Biagioli, 63, St.Louis, MO, Mary had outlived almost all her relatives: Heart disease took her mother at 56 and her father at 47. But last year, when she woke at 3 a.m. nauseated, sweating, and with a deep, burning pain in her upper right arm, she took two aspirin and fell asleep again—even though she had an inkling as to what was going on. The next morning, she went straight to the doctor, but an EKG revealed nothing. A week later the upper arm pain returned with excessive sweating. “I called my sister, who told me to call 911 immediately,” she says. At the hospital, the first ER nurse took Mary’s vitals and told her to stop worrying. “Even after my sister told them my family history, I had to wait in the triage line,” Mary says. After three hours, she got a bed. “This nurse looked at me and said, ‘You’re having a heart attack.’ Blood tests showed damage to my heart muscle, and I had quadruple bypass surgery.”
Keisha Hawes,33,Charleston,SC- Keisha had just lost a job she loved, so when she felt her heart skipping a beat once in a while, she blamed anxiety. “I was sweaty and nauseous, and I often felt like I had to gasp for air,” she says. One night after an argument with a family member, she left the house to grab some fast food, then headed home and got into bed. Almost immediately, she felt a burning in her chest. “I thought it was punishment for eating so badly. I rarely have that kind of food,” she says. After tossing and turning for a few hours, she told her husband she was heading to the emergency room to get some antibiotics. Turns out, Keisha had a 95 percent blockage in her main coronary artery. “Had I not gone to the hospital when I did,” she says, “I might have died.”
A Few Suggestions From Homes And Gardens:
Think Back To How You Have Been Feeling Over The Past Few Weeks- Many women have signs including inusual fatigue, sleep disturbances, shortness of breath, indigestion, and anxiety up to a month before a heart attack. Research shows symptoms can vary by age—for instance, one in five women age 55 or under do not have chest pain during a heart attack.
Don’t Drive Yourself To The ER– While you’re waiting, chew a regular (325 mg) aspirin. It won’t stop a heart attack, but it will help keep blood from clotting and might limit damage. EMTs can administer nitroglycerin tablets to help open arteries and allow more blood to flow to the heart. The closest hospital may be five minutes away, but the one that can open your arteries may be 15 minutes away, so driving yourself isn’t the best option.
Be Clear And Specific With Medical Staff– Women tend to report their emotional experience rather than physical symptoms. Doctors understand what’s happening faster when they hear concise facts like “I’ve had terrible chest pain, nausea, and shortness of breath for the past hour.”
Heart Attack Symptoms
Chest Pain – Most heart attacks involve pain in either the center or left side of the chest. These pains can last anywhere from just a few minutes that goes away and then comes back. The pain can feel like squeezing, fullness or pressure. It can also can mimic symptoms of heartburn or indigestion.
Pain In The Arms- You may also feel pain in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach, above the belly button.
Shortness of Breath. You may find that shortness of breath may be your only symptom, or find it is coupled with chest pain. Shortness of breath can occur when you are resting or doing physical activity.
Other Symptoms– Nausea and vomiting, pain in the back, shoulders, and jaw. Breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling unusually tired for no reason, sometimes for days, light-headedness or sudden dizziness.
The Difference Between Cardiac Arrest VS Heart Attack- What is the difference? Sudden Cardiac Arrest is an electrical malfunction of the heart, while a heart attack is a blockage in the blood vessels interrupting the flow of blood to the heart.
Heart Attack Prevention
Garlic and Strawberries Can Reduce Cholesterol By 10 % Or More– Garlic has been shown treat all kinds of heart-related diseases and hypertension. Studies have shown that high doses of garlic (2,400 mg of deorderized garlic per day) significantly lowered both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Strawberries are also loaded with antioxidants, including vitamin C and E, ellagic acid, assorted carotenoid and anthocyanins
Pomegranate Can Clean Arteries-A new study published in the journal Atherosclerosis confirms that pomegranate extract could reverse coronary artery blockages .Pomegranate reduced the size of the atherosclerotic plaques in the aortic sinus (the dilated opening above the aortic valve) and reduced the proportion of coronary arteries with occlusive atherosclerotic plaques. whydontyoutrythis.com One of the possible dangers of pomegranate juice as per the Mayo Clinic is that this juice in combination with blood pressure lowering medications can enhance the risk of very low blood pressure also known as hypotension.- fawesome.ifood.tv
Eat Avocado– Researchers in Mexico found that people who ate avocado every day for one week experienced an average 17 percent drop in total blood cholesterol. What’s more, their levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol decreased and HDL (“good”) cholesterol increased.
Grapes– Recent studies have shown that lutein also helps prevent thickening of the carotid artery in the neck, an indication of atherolscrosis. It also lowers inflammation of LDL cholesterol in artery walls. Found in the skin of the grape is a flavinoid called “quercetin” which acts as an antioxident to prevent LDL cholesterol from sticking on the walls of your arteries. A new study indicateed that Concord grape juice produced a arterial relaxation effect similar to red wine. In addition, it even induced a prolonged relaxation effect that has not been reported with red wine.
Whole Wheat Bread, Brown rice, And Oatmeal binds the cholesterol and drags it out of your body. These foods can lower your total blood cholesterol level and your risk for heart disease.
Turmeric – Turmeric is the best remedy for clogged arteries as it prevents the deposition of fatty acids within the arteries and keeps the cholesterol levels under control. Curcumin the main compound of turmeric clears all the harmful free radicals from the blood vessels and keeps them in prime health. Experts suggest taking two teaspoons of turmeric powder with a cup of warm water or milk daily.
Green Tea – has been known to be high in antioxidants which prevent damage to the arteries. It has been known to reduce ad cholesterol and prevent the buildup of fatty
deposits in the form of plaque in the arteries. Experts suggest drinking four cups daily.
Cherries- Cherries over 17 compounds to clear away clogged arteries of plaque and has been reported to be even better than vitamin supplements. Cherries contain more antioxidents than vitamin C and E supplements.
Fenugreek has powerful antioxidant properties and contains large amounts of saponins, tannin, pectin, mucilage and hemicellulose, which lower cholesterol and maintain the health of the arteries.
Cod Liver Oil is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, and has been known to regulate
cholesterol levels. It also prevents plaque buildup in the arteries. Experts suggest taking two capsules of cod liver oil daily.
Flaxseed Oil has been shown to be extremely rich in omega 3 fatty acids which reduces cholesterol levels. It also has been known to prevent excessive clotting of blood which leads to heart attacks and strokes. Experts suggest taking one tablespoon of flaxseed oil twice daily.
Apples, Grapefruit And Sweet Potatoes are full of cholesterol-lowering fiber, shown to lower your blood pressure and keep your arteries clear.
Some Heart Attacks Have Been Linked To Antibiotics– In a 2012 study, popular antibiotic azithromycin, had shown to place people at a higher risk of heart attack. While the evidence was not strong enough to change practices, it is a good idea to talk with your doctor about alternative antibiotics- health.com
Herbs For Heart Health– Astragalus, Capsicum, Fish Oil, Garlic, Ginkgo, Hawthorn, Mistletoe herbslist.net
Hawthorn Tea– (extract from the hawthorn berries) calms palpitations, restores blood vessel elasticity, eases fluid build-up, helps dilate coronary arteries and also reduce blood pressure. Hawthorne can help you decrease your heart medication dosage. Consult with your doctor.
Eat Spinach To Clear Arteries- Aside from guarding against age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, lutein may prevent heart attacks by keeping artery walls clear of cholesterol. Spinach is also rich in iron, which helps deliver oxygen to your cells for energy, and folate, a B vitamin that prevents birth defects. Cook frozen spinach leaves (they provide more iron when cooked than raw) and serve as a side dish with dinner a few times a week.
Eat Almonds To Reduce Cholesterol– Almonds are filled with vitamin E and flavonoids, which help cut bad cholesterol by almost 10 percent and also decreases the development of artery blockage.
Beans, Lentils And Soybeans – Beans and lentils are a good source of fibre, which can lowering cholesterol levels. Soybeans are also high in protein, which protects the heart, and helps in lowering bad cholesterol.
Avocados, Garlic And Olive Oil Lowers Cholesterol- Avocados can lower cholesterol by 15% because they contain beta-sitosterol. Olive Oil also contains antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats that can lower bad levels of cholesterol. Garlic can also help, as it fights plaque that clogs your arteries.
Avoid Bacon, And Pastrami- Both of these meats are high in saturated fat and high in sodium
Switch From Animal Oils To Plant Oils- High levels of (Bad) Cholesterol can result in plaque buildup, which hardens the arteries, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Oils from animal fats contain cholesterol. A tablespoon of butter contains 31 milligrams of cholesterol, and a tablespoon of bacon grease has about 12 milligrams. Tropical cooking oils, such as coconut and palm, are cholesterol-free.
Take Magnesium Supplements – Magnesium helps to keep blood pressure normal, bones strong, and the heart rhythm steady. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer; helps maintain normal blood pressure; prevents type II diabetes; and is essential for a healthy heart and blood vessels. Over 300 different essential chemical reactions in the body are dependent on magnesium. benefits-of-supplements.blogspot.com
How To Reduce High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If blood pressure stays high over time, it can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Great Foods For High Blood Pressure– Certain foods are especially helpful, such as celery, garlic and extra virgin olive oil.
Examples Of Great Exercise For High Blood Pressure- Many experts say there is a close link between having high blood pressure and not getting enough exercise. Aerobic activity can strengthen the heart such as climbing stairs, walking, jogging, going on bike rides and swimming classes. It usually takes about 1-3 months for regular exercise to have an impact on your blood pressure, and the benefits only last if you continue on a regime.
Coenzyme Q10 For High Blood Pressure– Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is something that is already found naturally in our bodies. It helps convert food into energy, and has been known as a powerful antioxidant. Many experts say that Q10 is an ecellent natural treatment for high blood pressure and has been given in Europe and Japan. It may take Q10, 4 – 12 weeks to see any change. Oily fish such as salmon and tuna, or liver and whole grains are dietary sources of CoQ10.
Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium – has been found to help high blood pressure.
Omega 3, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D – helps lower blood pressureto help prevent stroke and heart disease. Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to high blood pressure.
Olive Leaf Relaxes Blood Vessels– lowers blood pressure and even prevents blood clots. Olive leaf has also been shown to help to stop irregular heartbeats, improve blood flow in the coronary arteries and balances blood sugar levels
Common Medicines To Treat Heart Disease:
• Aspirin with or without clopidogrel (Plavix) or prasugrel (Effient) to help prevent blood clots
from forming in your arteries
• ACE Inhibitors to lower blood pressure and protect your heart and kidneys
• Beta-Blockers to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen use by the heart
• Calcium Channel Blockers to relax arteries, lower blood pressure, and reduce the strain on the heart
• Diuretics Or Water Pills to lower blood pressure and treat heart failure
• Nitrates (such as nitroglycerin) to stop chest pain and improve blood flow to the heart
• Statins to lower cholesterol
Procedures and Surgeries:
Angioplasty And Stent Placement- a stent is placed in the artery, keeping it open and improving blood flow.
Vein Graft- a vein is harvested from the leg and is then is stitched from the aorta to the right coronary artery directing blood.
Internal Mammary Artery Graft– An artery is harvested from the chest wall and is then
stitched from the subclavian artery to the left coronary artery directing blood flow around the blockage