A woman who recently survived a heart attack is using her experience to remind others how symptoms of the sometimes fatal occurrence can differ for men and women.
The woman, identified only as Twitter user @gwheezie, took to the social media platform on Sunday to share her story, detailing what she later realized were signs of a heart attack.
“I want to warn women our heart attacks feel different. Last Sunday I had a heart attack. I had a 95% block in my left anterior descending artery. I’m alive because I called 911. I never had chest pain. It wasn’t what you read in pamphlets. I had it off & on for weeks,” she began in a tweet, which has garnered more than 70,000 likes and nearly 40,000 retweets as of Thursday afternoon.
“The pain ran across my upper back, shoulder blades & equally down both arms. It felt like burning & aching. I actually thought it was a muscle strain. It wasn’t until I broke into drenching sweat & started vomiting that I called 911,” she continued.
The Twitter user went on to say she is a “nurse and an older woman” who initially thought she was in pain because she had strained muscles while helping a friend clean out her barn.
“I took Motrin & put a warm pack on my shoulders, I almost died because I didn’t call it chest pain,” she wrote.
“The day before my heart attack I drove 6 hours to help my mother who lives in another state. I thought I should go to a dr but I had to help my mom who is 90 & I’d just tough it out because it wasn’t real bad,” she continued.
Symptoms of a heart attack can differ between sexes, and, according to the Mayo Clinic, women are “more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain,” which is a common sign of a heart attack.
Neck, jaw, shoulder and upper back pain can be a sign of a heart attack in women, as can abdominal discomfort, the Mayo Clinic says. Shortness of breath, pain in one or both arms, nausea or vomiting, sweating, and “unusual” or extreme fatigue are additional signs.
In total, roughly 735,000 people across the U.S. suffer a heart attack each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or who smoke are at risk for developing heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack. Additionally, those with diabetes, a poor diet, or who are overweight, among other medical conditions, are also at risk of having a heart attack, according to the CDC.
In the last of the series of tweets, the woman wrote she was “lucky” to have survived.
“I was lucky, I had no idea what hospital to go to, the female medics who picked me up took me to a hospital that does cardiac caths, I had 4 stents placed an hour after I got to the er. That was Sunday. I was discharged thurs & at my daughters house & back to tweeting,” she added.