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Medical Edge: Wear red on Friday
CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- The American Heart Association is asking you to wear red this Friday, February 7, 2014, to help raise awareness of the need to fight heart disease and stroke.
Debi Schweitzer says you don't forget the day you have a heart attack. "I was getting ready for family photos that day and got up and ate breakfast, had what I thought was indigestion, went down the street, and got the terrible pressure in the chest."
She just just happened to be driving by a fire station when that pressure hit. It may have saved her life.
Doctor Dean Kereiakes says Schweitzer had what's called a SCAD. "Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, it's a tearing in the wall of the artery that can result in the artery closing, and can cause a heart attack."
She shares her story to let others know two things, first that it can happen to you and you need to pay attention to your own signs and symptoms, but also to let you know that women are not just little men and the symptoms tend to be a little different than what's traditionally thought. "It can be discomfort up into the neck or jaw, into the back, shortness of breath often with diapheresis, which means clammy sweaty feeling."
Schweitzers message is now a simple one. "I didn't want to go to the hospital, because I was having family pictures that day and I didn't want to take away from that."
Taking care of you isn't taking taking away from anything. "I survived for a reason and that is to help get the word out about women and heart disease we always put ourselves last, we never put ourselves first, just like the day I had the heart attack, I was worried about the pictures instead of myself. Women need to stop and listen to their bodies and listen to their heart and listen to themselves."