Women and Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms Explained from the Experience of a Female ER Nurse!

In this article we shall present you a personal letter written by a female ER nurse, who has experienced a heart attack which she luckily has survived it. Therefore, she wants to tell you all of the symptoms that she had and the things you need to do when you experience a heart attack or someone close to you. She addresses her letter to all women out there.

Heart Attacks and Women

First of all, you need to be aware that women do not show same drastic symptoms as men when they are having a heart attack. It means that they are not displaying the common symptoms like having a cold sweat, grabbing and sudden stabbing in the chest, accompanied with falling down on the floor very similar to those ones shown in the movies.

Here it is how this nurse explains her heart attack:

“In April, 2016, at about 10:30 p.m. I experienced a heart attack, which happened suddenly and unexpected. I was sitting comfortable, reading a book and having my cat in the lap when all of that happened. After just several minutes, I experienced an awful feeling of ingestion, such as when you are in a hurry and have a bite from your sandwich followed by some water, making you feel that you swallowed a huge ball which is moving down your esophagus slowly. It felt very unpleasant.”

Most of the people would think that a glass of water will be extremely helpful in this situation, but this is not the case. In fact, it will cause even more pain as in that state the throat muscles and esophagus are in spasm making it extremely difficult and painful to swallow anything even if it is water.

Preliminary Sensations

Her initial sensations were one of ingestion, even though she has not consumed anything for 5 hours, since 5 p.m., but she thought maybe that is the reason. Soon after the first one, the second sensation appeared. She was experiencing squeezing motions which raced up her spine for which she believed to be a spasm in the aorta, which speeded up while running up and down her breastbone. The same thing happened with her throat and then in both jaws.

In that moment, she realized that she was experiencing a heart attack since she knew that the pain in the jaw is the usual symptom for heart attack. Once she became aware of her condition she put the cat away from her and lowered her feet to the floor. But, she was not strong enough to make even one step and felt instantly on the floor. The first thought that came to her mind was that she needed to find the strength to reach the phone which was placed in the other room and call for help. If she remained on the floor for a longer period of time she wouldn’t have been able to stand up.

The desperate call for help

She somehow managed to get up and by supporting herself on the chair reached the other room to call the ambulance. The people from 911 asked her about her symptoms and she managed to stay calm and explicitly explaining all her symptoms of having a heart attack, telling about the pressure she felt starting under her breastbone following up to the jaws. The lady on the other line gave her instructions to unlock her front door if she was nearby it and then to lie down on the ground waiting for the medical experts to come.


She managed to take 100mg magnesium oxide capsule and drank ¾ glass of water with the pill so that it dissolves quicker in the blood stream. She couldn’t take Aspirin because she was allergic to it.

After that, she sat near the front door and then passed out. She says that she cannot remember when the ambulance came and at what time she came to the hospital. She regained consciousness when she arrived at the hospital only to see the cardiologist dressed for a surgery and the other medical personnel. The cardiologist wanted to enquire if she was on some medication, but she was not able to answer as she passed out once again.

The surgery was finished where the angiogram was threaded through her femoral artery, additionally with 2 side-by-side stents which were installed in her heart so that it keeps her right coronary artery open. Her three children came to the hospital to see if their mother has survived the attack which fortunately that was the case with this nurse.

Things that you need to remember:

This nurse is a Certified Medical Back-Office Assistant at the Internal Medicine Clinics and because of that she felt the need to share her story with the rest of the world. She gave all her details and symptoms regarding her heart attack so that they can become helpful for other women out there.

Things which helped her in this horrible situation are the following ones:

– First of all she could feel that something strange was happening to her body and those were not the conventional symptoms of a heart attack. Many women die of heart attack as their symptoms are mistaken for ingestion. So, the normal reaction is to take a heartburn preparation such as Maalox, and then going to bed believing that in the morning you will feel better, which sadly enough is not the case. For that reason, if you feel that something strange and unpleasant is happening to your body go to your doctor and seek for help even if it turns out to be a false alarm, believe us that is much better than putting your life at risk.

– However, do not try to drive to the doctor, but call the Paramedics! If you are having a heart attack and driving, you will endanger your life and the lives of the people who are driving on the road. Also, this rule applies for your close friend and family, because they cannot stay focus on the road constantly checking you and worrying if something bad happens to you. Moreover, the paramedics have the required equipment for a heart attack.

– You may consider that this happened to me because of high cholesterol, but in my case the cholesterol levels were normal. Nevertheless, recent research has revealed that elevated levels of cholesterol are not always the reason for heart attack provided that they are not extremely high. In fact, heart attacks are commonly caused by an inflammation present in the body for a longer period of time and as well as stress that deposits all kinds of lethal hormones in the body. Genetics take great role in this occurrence too.

What every woman needs to know?

  • The common initial chest pain may not occur while having a heart attack, but pressure or heaviness under the breast bone can for sure appear.
  • Likewise the usual arm pain may also not occur. Therefore, pay extra attention to intense pressure and pain in the jaw line and under the breastbone or sternum. This also applies to ingestion signs, particularly if you have not eaten anything in the last couple of hours.
  • Furthermore, symptoms like intense sweating and nausea can be present in women.
  • An intense jaw pain can wake you up during the night which is a sign of heart attack. According to statistics around 60% of people who had a heart attack while sleeping, never got up to see the day.

So, if you share this story with your friends and loved ones the chances of saving someone’s life are becoming higher day by day.