When Rosie O’Donnell suffered a near fatal heart attack last summer she started speaking out to help other women recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
In her HBO documentary, “Rosie O’Donnell: A Heartfelt Stand Up”, Rosie speaks of how she experienced a 99% percent blockage in her left anterior descending (LAD) artery. Rosie delayed seeking medical advice for almost 2 days and then just made an appointment with a cardiologist rather than go to Emergency. Like a lot of women, she dismissed her symptoms as overexertion and stress. When she finally did receive medical treatment, doctors were surprised that she survived such a serious and life threatening blockage. An LAD blockage is known as the “widowmaker”: It kills people instantly.
We’ve known for years that heart attack symptoms for men and woman are different but many women either ignore their symptoms or brush them off. Research shows that men will go much sooner to an ER than women. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in North America and has more victims than breast cancer and lung cancer combined.
Rosie’s symptoms paint a picture of what a heart attack can look like and when to seek immediate medical help. She describes her symptoms with the acronym HEPPP.
- Heat: Feeling hotter than “any hot flash you’ve ever had”.
- Exhaustion: Extreme fatigue, “feels like you’re walking through syrup”.
- Pain: Pain somewhere; it can be in your arms, neck, chest, stomach or head.
- Pale: Poor skin colour – chalky, pasty or even bluish.
- Puke: Vomiting – vomit can resemble “milk”.
Symptoms will vary but if you experience a combination of these, take it serious and call an ambulance. Do not drive and do not delay. Heart attacks are no laughing matter…just ask Rosie.
Skilven Publications Inc