November 16, 2011 11:05am CST
First while this topic is relevant to both genders I must note that being a woman the discussion may get skewed more towards the female end of things. I'm 35 years old (just turned in Sept.) and I had a mild heart attack less than a month ago. Now I'm what you might call fluffy at 30 lbs over weight; but by no means what one may picture when thinking of the type of person that would have a heart attack at such a young age; or at least what I pictured until now. I eat a fairly healthy diet and get about as much exercise as the average house wife would with cleaning and chasing lil ones around and thought the fact that I had even been losing weight meant I was in pretty good shape. I could not have been more wrong, but it wasn't my physical condition that was responsible it was the amount of mental stress I was taking on and how I was "handling" it. Then one morning when I all I had been up doing was picking out cloths and waking children I found myself taking a knee in the kitchen because I was so tired and dizzy I could not stand. With my 8 year old and 12 year old looking over me I played it off that I must just be coming down with a bug and pulled myself up by my boot straps to get through the day. Within a few minutes of the 8 year old leaving for school I got heart burn which I only get if I'm pregnant or eating my mother in laws cooking (lard ); still must just be a bug. It wasn't until my left arm went dead on me and hurt on the inside and I had a strange burning in the center of my chest that I began to get concerned that I might be in trouble. I called my hubby at work still thinking what ever this was was minor and I'm probably over reacting. WRONG! My way of "dealing" with stress has always been to put on a smile and just keep going no matter what. Mom's don't let their kids see that we are worried that we aren't going to make the bills this month or that we are upset because our friend is being a pill we just keep things happy and comfy for the kids as much as possible. Well this practice combined with a lack of knowledge regarding female heart attack symptoms nearly took my children's mom away from them. So I want to take this second chance I've been given and use it to help others avoid the same situation. First know that stress does kill and learning to deal with it in the right way will not only make you a happier person but it can save your life. Each of us will find a slightly different tool for dealing with stress that will work best for them but for me it has been a combination of meditation, yoga, and random silliness. Combined with a more realistic idea of what one is truly capable of doing. I no longer multitask unless I absolutely can not avoid it and I have began to speak up when a person or situation is stressing me out. Another point I've made is to avoid negative situations/people and when I feel myself beginning to bubble over with stress/anger/depression I step back and calm myself down. These may not work for you but if you are one of the billions of people who deal with stress by just not dealing with it please try and find a method that does help you. If you are lost as to what to try simply start with what makes you feel happy. If you are still lost there is no shame in asking a professional for help. Next know your symptoms because the faster you get help the less damage aw heart attack will do. For women the Mayo clinic states the symptoms as: Neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort Shortness of breath Nausea or vomiting Sweating Lightheadedness or dizziness Unusual fatigue And for men they list: Chest discomfort or pain This discomfort or pain can feel like a tight ache, pressure, fullness or squeezing in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes. This discomfort may come and go. Upper body pain Pain or discomfort may spread beyond your chest to your shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth or jaw. You may have upper body pain with no chest discomfort. Stomach pain Pain may extend downward into your abdominal area and may feel like heartburn. Shortness of breath You may pant for breath or try to take in deep breaths. This often occurs before you develop chest discomfort or you may not experience any chest discomfort. Anxiety You may feel a sense of doom or feel as if you're having a panic attack for no apparent reason. Lightheadedness In addition to chest pressure, you may feel dizzy or feel like you might pass out. Sweating You may suddenly break into a sweat with cold, clammy skin. Nausea and vomiting You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit. I'm sure for many of you this is old news but if for even one of you this is helpful I'll be glad I posted it. STAY HAPPY AND HEALTHY MY FRIENDS.