Know your heart facts

Several months ago, I was writing at my PC.  It was a Sunday, late morning, and suddenly I felt a squeezing in the middle of my chest.  It came and went a few times, and I began to feel slightly nauseated.  My left arm eventually began tingling, and I decided it was time to get to the hospital.  I’m 54 years old, fit, but with hypertension and a father who died at 46 of a heart attack.  I got my husband, and we went to the closest emergency room, which happens to be one that is generally not full to bursting.  Once there, I was taken back, given the full questionnaire.  The doctor decided to keep me there for 6 hours to get hourly enzyme tests.  It was not a fun or interesting 6 hours, I didn’t feel bad, nor did the doctor believe I had experienced an attack, but we were going to be safe rather than sorry.  I did not, in fact, have a heart attack.  I did go to a cardiovascular doctor several weeks later for a follow-up to check for calcium damage, and very little was found. 

I do experience rare anxiety attacks which express themselves through a squeezing sensation in different parts of my body.  This may have been just that, but I know I made the right (although expensive) choice, and I would do it again in a heartbeat (ahem).  The way I convinced myself to go to the hospital was through a conversation with myself.  “What would you do if your best friend called you with these symptoms?  You would yell, ‘GET TO THE HOSPITAL!’ ”  That is how I took my own best friend advice. 

Read the article and memorize it.  Just like you would want your best friend to do so.


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