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Friday, February 10, 2012

Heart Attack - Reality of Symptoms

My Dad's Heart Attack  
Type A Personality Vs. Atypical Criteria
Type A Personality
When my dad had a heart attack, he didn’t fit the classic criteria of a Type A personality.  He was only 45 years old, and rather slender in statue.   My dad was in a cab when he discovered his heart attack.  He alerted the driver of his symptoms and was quickly rushed to a nearby hospital.  Not only did my dad have a heart attack, he had 1 artery that was 50% blocked and another 90% blocked.  My mom was on the next plane to California.  This was her first time visiting the state, but it would be no vacation for her.  My dad underwent angioplasty surgery which at the time was risky since it was a new procedure.   Why am retelling a story of my father’s past medical history? The fact is – you don’t need medical history in order to fit the profile of have a heart attack patient.  Major attack or minor attack – they are all damaging to the heart muscle. Heart disease does not happen overnight, it is progressive.  The heart attack is the result.
When I think about it, my dad was lucky.  His heart attack while shocking was a warning.  Just like those tremors before an earth quake – there are signs and signals before the “BIG ONE” happens.
The Recipe:
With a little bit of chest pain, hypertension, high fat-diet, a dashing high stress lifestyle – This combination is a strong recipe for a heart attack.  Actually, the medical term is a “myocardial infraction.”  When you use the word “infraction” – it kind of softens the blow of a real heart attack….or does it? I mean, “Accidents” do happen.  Dad always said: “When you have an accident, get up and try again.” The same school of thought holds true for many heart attack patients. Especially for the guys that survive one.  Men have relatively the same symptoms.  Such as, crushing chest pressure, like an elephant sitting on your chest. This is how my dad described it.  He had no typical “arm pain.”  My dad had a heart attack that changed his life forever and for the better.  His heart is still going strong.  He will be 70 years old next month.  Many people do not get a 2nd chance at life to make change happen. They do not heed to their bodily warnings, before the “big one” hits. Do not let warnings fall on “deaf ears.” Make healthy changes in your life starting today.
MEN are from MARS – WOMEN are from VENUS
First, listen to your body signals. What is normal for you, maybe abnormal for someone else.  Men are from MARS.  It is easier to for a guy to detect his own heart attack symptoms.  Women are from VENUS.  Pain for women is more atypical.  Some jaw pain, neck pain, undiagnosed hypertension, or vomiting could all be signals.  Heart attacks are the #1 leading cause of death for women and it out ranks breast cancer.  Remember, you don’t have to fit the profile to take a heart attack – but you don’t have to be a victim either.  On my 45th birthday I will be celebrating life and my “atypical” odds of beating heart disease.