Learning heart attack symptoms saves woman's life

A mother The picture of good health nearly died of a heart attack at 41.

Find out what saved her life in today's medical moment.

Kim Strong, 42, is an outdoor sports fanatic.

She fearlessly skis double diamonds and surfs the monster waves in Costa Rica.

"I don't go down, ever!,” she says.

That changed on july 11th 2012.

"I was watching television with my husband and I said, 'you know, I have a weird, um, I feel like I flossed my teeth too hard,' and he said, 'really?’,” explained Kim.

The next morning ...

“I have a back ache and I have a chest pain and I said, 'god, that jaw pain is killing me.' I said, 'I think I am having a heart attack. You're not having a heart attack.' and then he taps me on the bootie and says, 'get ready, get dressed, go to work.'"

She then collapses in her bedroom closet. He drives her to the hospital and in minutes her suspicion is confirmed-heart attack.

"I have a blood-clotting syndrome," she says.

"Heart disease hits very young people, very productive people, and that's a reason why it's very scary," explains Dr. Swathy Killi.

Kolli says it's worse if you don't know all the signs. In women, that includes nausea, vomiting, shoulder, neck, and jaw pain.

"These are, you know, the symptoms that people usually don't pay attention to."

A handout at the annual American Red Cross Go Red Luncheon Kim attended two months earlier helped her to know the signs.

“No other way to say it, if I hadn't gone, I would have pushed through it because I am a pretty tough girl," she says.

Kim's extreme sporting days are over, but she says the tradeoff is worth it.

"I have to be here for my kids. I have to see what happens.”

The major risk factors for heart disease are hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, and family history.

Kim's blood clotting disorder is genetic.

She's planning on having her children tested, since they have a 50/50 chance of having it, too.

Doctor Kolli says the lesser-known factors are obesity and certain inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis.

REPORT #2012

BACKGROUND: More than a million Americans have heart attacks a year. The heart muscle needs a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood to nourish it. The coronary arteries provide the heart with blood supply. Coronary artery disease causes the arteries to narrow and blood will not flow properly. Fatty matter, proteins, calcium, and inflammatory cells build up within the arteries to form plaques of different sizes. The plaque deposits are hard on the outside and soft on the inside. When plaque is hard, the outer shell cracks and platelets come to the area, and blood clots form around the plaque. If a blood clot totally blocks the artery, the heart muscle becomes "starved" for oxygen. Over time, death of heart muscle cells occurs, causing permanent damage. This is a heart attack. (Source: www.webmd.com)

WOMEN AND HEART ATTACKS: "Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure," Nieca Goldberg, MD, Medical Director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health at NYU's Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer, was quoted as saying. So, the American Heart Association lists five heart attack signs that women should be aware of:

1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest. It lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
2. Shortness of breath with or without chest pain.
3. Discomfort or pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
4. Other signs like breaking out in a cold sweat, lightheadedness, or nausea.
5. Like men, women's most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort. Women are more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, like shortness of breath nausea, vomiting, back or jaw pain. (Source: www.heart.org)

? For More Information, Contact:

Dr. Swathy Kolli
Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, Orlando

Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up: http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WNDU - Channel 16 54516 State Road 933 South Bend, IN 46637 Front Desk: 574-284-3000 Newsroom: 574-284-3016 Email: newscenter16@wndu.com
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 217982301 - wndu.com/a?a=217982301