O’Donnell Heart Attack Prompts Look At Symptoms in Women

by WHIZ Reporter on August 22, 2012 at 7:12 am

The events surrounding comedian Rosie O’Donnell’s recent heart attack have medical experts urging women to take a closer look at their heart health.

O’Donnell, who believed her chest discomfort was from a strained muscle, had a 99% blockage in her left anterior descending artery.

Doctor Vicki Whitacre of the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department said its crucial to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, as women often experience different symptoms than men.

"They tend to have more shortness of breath or wheezing problems, they may have nausea or even sweating before they’re really presented with chest pain or chest pressure," said Whitacre.

Whitacre said a proper diet and regular exercise will help reduce the risk of a heart attack.

Those who don’t smoke and have lower blood pressure also reduce their chances but family history can also play a role in determining who is at risk.

"If you’re a man over the age of 45 and a woman over the age of 50 and if there’s a strong family history of early death in your family, then you want to lower those ages, too. Go in sooner than a 50 year old," added Whitacre.

Whitacre said cardiac disease continue to be the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States.