The Norman Transcript


February 19, 2014

Heart attack survivor shares importance of knowing symptoms



“Time is muscle,” said Dr. Muhammad Anwar, M.D., interventional cardiologist. “The quicker the symptoms are recognized, the faster we are able to meet your medical needs, treat you and sometimes even save your life. The longer someone waits to seek medical attention, the more damage is being done to their heart.”

Basic symptoms in men and women include chest tightness, pressure and/or pain in the chest, neck, jaw, arms or back. Common symptoms for men include shortness of breath, weakness, unusual fatigue, cold sweat and dizziness. For women, major symptoms include unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances, shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and anxiety. Many women report their symptoms occurred as much as a month before a heart attack, according to the National Institute for Health.

While Rowell was young, didn’t smoke, wasn’t overweight and didn’t have most other heart disease risk factors, she has a family history of heart disease. Her father died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 30.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, causing one in three deaths each year, according to the American Heart Association. That is approximately one woman every minute.

“I am happy to be here, to be alive and to share my story with everyone I meet,” Rowell said. “If something doesn’t feel right, I strongly encourage people to get it checked out and to speak up about any risk factors they might have because any little thing can save your life.”

Since symptoms vary significantly between men and women, they are often misunderstood. Residents are advised to never ignore possible symptoms of a heart attack and call 911 immediately if they or someone they know experiences heart attack symptoms.

Beswick is a community relations coordinator at Norman Regional Health System.


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