Thursday, February 2, 2012

Go Red and Geeky For Women!

by Megan S.

Ribcage Heart Pendant
Late one night three years ago, my mother lay dying in my arms on the floor of my childhood home.  I didn't understand what was happening.  A few hours before, she had complained of heartburn.  She said she really didn't feel well.  Her back hurt, too. Then, her arms hurt down to her elbows.  She stood up and started to fall to the ground.  I caught her and slumped to the floor.  She didn't want me to call 911 then she lost consciousness for a bit and shook like she was having a seizure.

I didn't know Lupus could cause plaque buildup even if you don't have high cholesterol.  I didn't know she was having a heart attack.  I didn't know those were classic signs for a woman.  I didn't know she was dying.

I called 911.  Luckily, I'm stubborn and went against my mother's wishes.  Luckily, we had a Marine medic as a paramedic who used his field experience to get an IV in when none of the others could.  Luckily, San Francisco is home to one of the world's top cardiac catheterization units and they saved her for me.

But you might not be so lucky.  You need to learn the signs of how a heart attack can present itself in women because it can be different than what we all know men can experience. You need to learn the signs to save your mom, family members and friends because more and more women in their 30s are dying of heart attacks.  You need to learn the signs to help spread the word.

Every year, I like to help raise awareness by wearing a red heart for the month of February as a part of Go Red For Women and telling people I love (like you!) how protect the women in their life.  So, learn about the signs of a heart attack from 30 Rock and Hunger Games' Elizabeth Banks and check out the geekiest and cutest red heart pendants from Etsy you can wear after the jump!

Here's a list of what you need to look out for:

1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.

2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 911. Get to a hospital right away!

Heart of a Vampire

Flaming Sacred Heart

Red Hearts Bow Tie Necklace

Anatomical Heart Necklace

Dark Heart Czech Lampwork Glass Pendant

LEGO Heart

Have a Heart

Raven on a Red Heart

Heart of Darkness
(This is the heart I'm wearing this year!) 

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  1. I am so glad you were with your mom and that she got the med attention she needed! I am sending this to my friends, re-tweeting, posting on Facebook. Thank you for sharing your story and this critical information!

    (and I love the necklaces too!)

  2. This needs all the promoting it can get. So glad you were there for your mother.