Thursday, November 5, 2009

Heart Health

This morning I became certified by the American Heart Association in CPR and AED. Things have changed a lot since I last took a class. I relearned how to do heart compressions and resuscitation (though breathing is not as important as compressions now) as well as use the portable defibrillators. We learned how quickly the heart tissue dies if it doesn't get help. I already knew how once heart tissue dies it cannot be brought back. That lesson was learned the hard way by Mom. I learned the Heimlich and how to move people into recovery position. I learned how important it is that our children know and understand how important it is to not leave a passed out person sleeping on their back. If nothing else our kids should know how to move someone into recovery position (and of course what to look for when its time to call in aid).

So this is as good a time as any to tell any of my female readers that don't know this, a frequent manifestation of heart failure in women is a "funny feeling in the jaw." Had my mother known this she might still be with us today. I remember vividly when she mentioned her jaw felt funny and we all dismissed it as stress and excitement over a big family event and relatives coming in from out of town. She suffered from a heart attack over several days. By the time it was diagnosed her heart was irreparably damaged.

As women, we natural borne care takers. Of other people that is. We have learned to put our own health on a back burner, often waiting until we are beyond an easy fix to seek professional attention. And then there's the discomfort of maybe making a big deal out of nothing. "I don't want to go to the doctor. By the time I get there I'll be fine and they'll think I'm just a big whiner." And so we often don't follow the signs and signals our body is giving us to get attention. I'll just say that this goes for taking care of our mental health as well as physical.

Take care of yourself: your heart and your head.


This from the Mayo Clinic:
Additional heart attack symptoms in women
Women may have all, none, many or a few of the typical heart attack symptoms. For women, the most common heart attack symptom is still some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But women are more likely than are men to also have heart attack symptoms without chest pain, such as:

■Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
■Shortness of breath
■Nausea or vomiting
■Abdominal pain or "heartburn"
■Lightheadedness or dizziness
■Unusual or unexplained fatigue

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