I was just starting high school when my maternal grandmother (Barbara Jane Horne) was hospitalized with a heart attack. The thought of losing her at that time, was devastating for me. Thankfully my grandmother lived nearly 20 years after the heart attack.
Women are dying at an alarming rates from heart disease, recently I saw a shocking statistic on the
Go Red's Home Page, every 80 seconds a woman dies from heart disease. There are several misconceptions about heart disease in women, which could be putting them at risk..
The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health for this very reason. Facts for Women and Cardiovascular Disease
As an African-American woman I found these stats very unsettling: (Taken from Go Red Homepage)
Cardiovascular diseases kill nearly 50,000 African-American women annually.
Of African-American women ages 20 and older, 49 percent have heart diseases.
Only 1 in 5 African-American women believes she is personally at risk.
Only 52 percent of African-American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
Only 36 percent of African-American women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk
During the week of pampering leading to the Hearts of Hope luncheon, sponsored by
The Nashville Rescue Mission, an interesting event occurred. I had just arrived at the Nashville Rescue Mission, Women's Campus to volunteer. I overheard that someone had passed out in the elevator.
I accompanied one of the staff members to the scene where we found an African American woman down on the floor moaning and holding her chest. I immediately jumped into nurse mode and began a quick assessment on the woman, my findings were she was alert and oriented, anxious, have radiating chest pain and pressure. The woman also reported a history of a heart attack.
Within 5 minutes first responders were on the scene, I gave them a quick report on the women and stepped aside, back into the role of bystander. For reason's I can not explain, these three young men focused on the patients anxiety. Let me clarify this point, they did not apply oxygen, oh no they were all too busy telling this woman who had just passed out to stand up. By this time my silent bystander mode was transformed into patient advocate.
"Hey guys she's having chest pain 8 out of 10 and she has a history of a heart attack. Maybe you can help her up." Apparently something clicked, and they helped her up to a chair and gave her an Aspirin. The EMT's arrived shortly after the lady was sitting up, immediately the women was placed on oxygen and put on a stretcher. I said a silent prayer as I watch this women being transported off to the hospital. I checked with staff during the rest of the week, unfortunately they had no information to share.
The importance of early detection and immediate work up and treatment are crucial to survival rate for cardiac disease, specifically heart attacks.
Unfortunately women are more likely to be misdiagnosed for heart attacks which can be an attributing factor in the high fatality rates for women. Click Here to learn more about early signs and symptoms for heart attacks.
Education is key for survival so please take heart (pun intended) to learn the signs and symptoms and share the information with your family and friends.
"I am not having a nervous breakdown, gastic reflux, or a tummy ache. Please send the Cardiologist in and work me up like my names is David instead of Diane." Please and Thank You!
We must do a better job with prevention and education in order to reverse the alarming number of women dying from heart disease. Together we can make a difference, so join me in saving Hearts.
~ One Love (Diane)
THANK YOU FOR READING, SHARING, AND SUBSCRIBING!!!