Know ALL the signs of a heart attack (Not just the typical signs)

This Thanksgiving, I didn’t realize how thankful I really would be for my family. I was prepared to feel blessed for my new baby, but not prepared for the overwhelming relief and thanks that my father is still alive today. The day after Thanksgiving, my father suffered a massive heart attack. He had to be airlifted to Deborah Heart & Lung Center for an emergency procedure, but is now resting and feeling better.

My dad did not have typical heart attack symptoms, so I want to spread as much awareness as I can about what to look for if you may be at risk for a heart attack.

I took this from the American Heart Association’s website. You can also get information here.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack,” where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. 
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. 
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. 
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

My dad did not have the “movie heart attack.” He had the other, sneaky kind. I wanted to share my dad’s story of atypical symptoms because if he would have ignored how he felt, he would not be here today. My was driving himself into work when he started having jaw pain. He tried to ignore his symptoms thinking it was a bad toothache, but he began to feel weak and started sweating profusely. Assuming he had an infection and a fever, he called out of work en route, but the person on the other line recognized the symptoms and told him to get to a hospital.

Being my dad, and not the average person, he drove himself to the hospital, parked a quarter mile away, and walked into the emergency room while having a heart attack. While in the ER, he suffered another attack, worse than the first, and the decision to transfer him was made. All the while, my dad was making jokes, teasing my mom, and laughing. Even now he thinks more about making everyone smile instead of worrying about him.

The doctor told him that if he would have just went home and gone to sleep, he would not have woken up. If he didn’t talk to that particular person when calling out, who knew jaw pain and sweating was a sign of a heart attack, I would not have my father today. He had two stents put in, and will have another in a few weeks. In the meantime, he’s trying his best not to be over active and just resting.

My post-Thanksgiving blog was supposed to be about apple pies and corn cake, with a nod to how thankful I am for my family. It is amazing how life can completely change in an instant. One second you are in your p.j.’s writing a blog while texting funny memes to your sister, and the next second you’re throwing on whatever clothes you can find so you can get to the hospital in time to see your father before he is airlifted to Deborah Heart and Lung for an emergency procedure.

We’ve all heard it before, we’ve lived through it, we’ve learned, but once the dust settles we will always forget that our lives are fragile.  I am so thankful that my dad called that particular person, that he had the sense to go to the hospital instead of to his comfortable bed, that he is alive. We all feel so touched by the outpouring of support and prayers so many people have given us. Thank you all so much! Be thankful and be blessed, and kiss all your loved ones!

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  1. Trackback: Grinch Ornaments for Giacomo’s 1st Birthday | My *Asterisk* Life

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