Heart Health

 Life has a way of throwing a curve ball our way.  For the most part my life has moved along nice and smoothly with a few hiccups along the way.  Like the rest of us we have worries of finances, our families, our health, jobs and the future.  But we wake up every morning, put one foot before the other and face the day’s challenges.

Thursday night was my curve ball.  For the past few weeks I have had severe problems with heartburn and acid reflux, which included off and on symptoms of chest pain, racing heart, shortness of breath, upset stomach and the feeling that something was stuck in my throat and I could not swallow.  My meals the past few weeks consisted of bland foods except for Thursday afternoon when I had a slice of pizza.

Thinking back I am sure that pizza was the culprit for the next chain of events. Not long afterward I knew it did not agree with me.  As the afternoon progressed it seemed as if it was getting worse, swallowing was becoming difficult and my heart started racing along with the chest pains getting worse.  As it progressed I took my blood pressure – it was a bit high, but I assumed it was because of my active afternoon.  About 2 hrs later I was feeling worse took my blood pressure again and it went up significantly and after a third time I told my husband better take me to the hospital, at that time I was having trouble catching my breath.

The ER doctor treated me right away as a heart patient, eventually the preliminary tests in the ER showed no damage to the heart from a heart attack, but they decided to keep me over night for observation because of my age, my diabetes and family history of heart disease.  I was also scheduled for a stress test to confirm that there were no blockages or other problems with the heart that could cause these symptoms and I am happy to report that I have a healthy heart for a woman my age and for someone who did not take care of her health over the years.

The next step is now to determined what caused these symptoms and to find a way to treat it. One of the diseases my doctor will look into is GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease).  The symptoms I had Thursday, could have been a heart attack and without going to the ER I could  have been at risk of a severe heart attack.

Since being diagnosed with diabetes nearly 2 yrs ago I have made some positive changes in my eating and exercise.  And now since this happened I am determined to even make more healthy lifestyle changes for myself and my family. I want to live to see my children married with families of their own, I want my DH and I to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary and I want to be healthy enough to enjoy the life God gave me the way He intended.

My mother was 47 when she was diagnosed with heart disease and within 8 yrs had three heart attacks.  When I was 14 my father died at the age of 57,  of a massive coronary or MI (myocardial infarction). When I was 23 – 9 yrs after dad died, my mother died from complications from kidney failure due to her weak heart.  I do not want to be a statistic. I want to beat the odds.

I want to thank the blog page: Rehabilitate Your Heart for educating me and other readers on heart disease and the importance of getting the emergency room right away.  Before reading the articles on Rehabilitate Your Heart I was not aware that by being a woman and a diabetic, my symptoms of a heart attack would be atypical of what most would consider normal symptoms.

Everyone from the nurse who admitted me to my family doctor told me I did exactly the right thing by getting to the emergency room asap, because if it had been a heart attack, every second counted to stop any damage to my heart and from suffering the consequences of not getting treatment in time.

I was blessed that it was not a heart attack this time.  I am sharing my story because I would like to see all of my friends, those near me and those in my blogging world to be aware of the symptoms of having a heart attack and to never think of these symptoms as nothing serious. As my doctor said, it is best to have it checked out and have nothing serious wrong than to ignore the signs and die because it was not taken care of.

I have lost too much already because of cancer and heart disease.  My prayer is for all us to reach a nice old age enjoying life to the fullest with our loved ones.  And when we are called Home, we can go knowing we honored God by living a happy and healthy life.


78 thoughts on “Heart Health

  1. What a scare, Patty. Sorry you had to go through it. Right before I read this, I was filing paperwork and saw medical receipts. I thought about how long it’s been since I saw the doctor. Your post is a *kick* for me. “And when we are called Home, we can go knowing we honored God by living a happy and healthy life.” Yes, I want that, too.


  2. I am thankful it has come out well and thanks for the encouragement.
    I’ll give my encouragement to stay diligent based on my experience. I too had chest pains, went to the ER, everything showed good, had a stress test that showed “excellent” – and pursued gastro and gall bladder, etc. for 6 months while the “acid reflux” pains continued.
    Eventually, was back at ER with a mild heart attack, had catheterization and a 90% blockage was discovered – and fixed (thank the Lord!) with angioplasty and a stent.
    Sometimes they have to get inside to really see what’s happening – don’t rule it out completely if pains continue.
    God is so Good!


  3. Patty,
    I’m glad you got this “warning” and happy for you that it wasn’t a heart attack. I speak from experience. I was having shortness of breath and a tightness in my chest, so I had it checked out, had a catheterization and they found a very small blockage. We decided to treat it with Nitro patches whenever I was expecting to over-exert myself. It seemed to work, but 6 months later, I woke up with a MACK Truck sitting on my chest. Ambulance ride to the hospital, only to find out I hadn’t had a heart attack but they wanted to do a catheterization. Guess what? There was a 95% blockage at the point where the artery splits going to the heart and lungs. A single By-pass and I went home a few days later. (Side note – I had a pain in my left calf and didn’t think much of it. Fortunately, I was staying with a nurse and after 5 days, she insisted I talk to my Doctor, not his nurse. I did and he insisted on a trip to the Emergency Room where we discovered a Blood Clot – that I had been walking around on for days, and we were able to treat it.) 3 years later, I had a heart attack, and the only indicator was moderately elevated blood pressure.
    Lessons from my experience:
    1.) A woman’s symptoms can be quite different from what we have all been taught – quite often (as in my case) pain in my back, like a pulled muscle. feeling “strange” and not being able to explain why, shortness of breath.
    2.) 50% of women DIE of their first heart attack because they wait too long, are used to working through pain and explaining it away as “it was something I ate”, “I must have slept in a bad position” or I did too much yesterday”. GO TO THE HOSPITAL !!!
    3.) Be aware of how your body feels normally, and don’t be embarrassed to go to the hospital with a false alarm if it feels different.
    4.) Hospitals and Doctors are much more aware of the differences between the symptoms of men and women and are more likely to treat women with symptoms instead of writing it off as imaginary.
    5.) After any medical procedure that has you in bed for a few days, pay very special attention and make your Doctor aware of ANY PAIN IN YOUR LEGS.
    I won’t apologize for this very long comment and I hope you took the time to read it to the end. It may save your life.


    1. Thank you for sharing this. If it is ok with you I will copy and paste this into another article to share. I am very thankful you are here to help other women. Not once did anyone say I should not have gone in, the whole time there everyone told me I did the right thing – hopefully there won’t be a next time but if there is I now know to get to the ER asap.


  4. Patty – I’m so relieved you followed the instincts and the knowledge you had gained and went to the ER. The other thing I’ve learned is to keep a bottle of aspirin handy at all times. You might want to ask your doctor about starting a regiment of the 81mg aspirin as a preventative. I’ve been taking them for years. Your history is similar to mine and I’ve had two complete heart work-ups by cardiologist in the past 10 years. With your history, your insurance should cover it 100%. There’s so much more to a heart work-up for someone in our high risk category.


  5. Oh, my heart was racing as I read this. I’m glad it wasn’t your heart and that you went into the ER. stay healthy. the world needs you!

    Hugs to you.

    I’m so sorry about your mom and dad, by the way.

    (Formerly Jumpingonclouds)


  6. Patty, whew! I sweated this one out as I read your frightening experience. Thank the Lord your heart is working well and no harm done. As they say, “Older age is not for whimps!” Stay well and keep blessing our lives. 🙂


  7. I am so glad that it at least was not your heart..It must have been disturbing to say the least ….I suffer (not so much now) from GERD . For years it was not good as the initial meds weren’t too helpful but thanks finally to a good one it came under control which I still must take..but the main issue now with it is food sticking in my esophagus and so I have to take time when I eat…but I’ve had it ‘stretched twice and probably will again soon as it helps. There’s nothing to it …but that’s only during the past couple of years….Hopefully if that’s your issue they sill start you on a good medication now that definitely helps…..Diane.


      1. Thanks so much…that was in 1999, two days after I lost my husband. I’m doing very well health-wise, and the Lord granted me another godly husband. My first one will ALWAYS be the love of my life, but I love this one too, in a different way.


  8. Thanks for sharing this important message about heart health. So glad your heart is good. I don’t know much about heart disease but I used to have terrible acid reflux. Very painful. What helped me was by going on a very low carb/mostly gluten free diet. I started the diet to loose a little weight but I noticed right away that after only a week the acid reflux went away! I didn’t need to take medication anymore for it. I did loose some weight and feel so much better. I am staying away from gluten as much as possible.


    1. I am glad you mentioned that because only recently I have started to look into eating more of a gluten free diet. DH has been so tired and sluggish and I am also newly diagnosed with diabetes so I wanted to try this diet to see if it would help. I am already on a very low carb diet the only thing I have not given up is my toast in the morning with my tea, the rest of the day has been easier than I thought even giving up potatoes every night for dinner – I love my tators! Now I eat them more sparingly for the nutrients. Anyway I am glad to hear that it has helped your acid reflux so I am sure to follow up on that now.


  9. Oh Patty. I’m sorry you have to deal with this. Do you have a support system in regards to fitness and eating habits? I pray that you feel well fast.


  10. I’m only now getting round to replying to this post. You’ve had a frightening time, and I’m so glad you seem to be alright, and feeling optimistic. It reminded me so much of my husband’s heart attack nearly three years ago now. With good management and care, he’s fine now, and so I hope that you too may find those recent events just a memory.


    1. Thank you for encouraging me with that and I am thankful to hear your husband is doing well. Although I am doing some other testing for GERD and some other things, my doctor did tell me they are not yet ruling out heart issues, but that things did look good. blessing for continued good health for your husband and you!


  11. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you and your family the best of heart. We only have one heart and we should not take it for granted. We live in a world full of stress, unhealthy food and lifestyle that our life span is shorter than the generation before us. I have seen family and friends who kids died before them and it is heart breaking every time.


  12. I am glad it wasn’t heart related, but at least you had the wisdom to treat the symptoms with respect. I hope you find healing and a way of dealing with the GERD that isn’t too life altering. Be well.


  13. I’m so glad that everything seems to be improving, and you’re getting the care you need from doctors, your family and friends. I’m praying for your continued health, and we know that God is the Ultimate Healer!!

    Blessings to you!!


  14. My goodness, Patty. How could I have missed this post??

    I was stunned to read about your intense pain episode plus other symptoms…and of your family’s health history. And you are, of course, following the most correct path to a fun future.

    My best to you!


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