Last month, American talk show host Rosie O’Donnell suffered a heart attack.
She underwent heart surgery which involved removal of a large blood clot lodged in her artery followed by insertion of a stent to keep the vessel open.
But she couldn’t have made it to a doctor if she did not take one tablet of aspirin as soon as she felt signs of a heart attack.
According to the WHO, cardiovascular disease is the largest single cause of death among women, accounting for one-third of all cases of death worldwide.
Seventy-five percent of all heart attack victims die before reaching the hospital.
What are the signs of a heart attack?
The most common symptom of an impending cardiac arrest is chest heaviness. It has been described by some as a vice-like grip on your heart or like an elephant is sitting on your chest.
A large number of women have subtle signs up to a month before the full-blown attack. They appear as mild symptoms which they often ignore or misinterpret as something other than a heart attack.
These symptoms are:
1. stabbing pain on the back
2. pain on the jaw or difficulty of opening the mouth
3. discomfort over the upper belly area somewhat like heartburn
4. nausea and vomiting
5. sudden shortness of breath even while doing simple tasks like talking
6. extreme fatigue as if one is a melting candle or a wilted plant
7. dizziness, lightheadedness or double-vision
If you feel any of these symptoms and you have the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, then taking an 80-mg tablet of aspirin right away can save your life.
What are the risks for a heart attack?
There are many contributing factors that slowly increase your risk for having a cardiovascular incident. The most common are high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, a positive family history of heart disease, excess weight, and stress.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
Taking steps to avoid disease is better than getting help when one is already sick. We start by changing our lifestyle, managing stress, maintaining a healthy body weight through proper diet and exercise. Have a yearly check-up and obey your doctor.