Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Well That Was a Wake Up Call

My racing heart woke me up. I laid very still for a few minutes and felt my heart rate return to normal. I couldn't get a deep breathe so I sat up on the side of the bed. Heart racing again. I walked to the living room and planted myself in the recliner feeling exhausted, out of breath and a heart beat well over 1oo bpm (beats per minute). This little scene unfolded last Wednesday night. All day Thursday I just felt blah. I couldn't say I was sick, I just felt off. I was having a hard time getting a deep breath. I couldn't walk from one room to another without getting short of breath. Exercising was out of the question. Bending over picking up toys made me completely light headed. I felt like I was carrying around weights and I was so tired. I did a lot of sitting. My symptoms continued. Friday was the same, Saturday too. I noticed Saturday night that my wedding ring was no longer swinging around on my finger. I could hardly get if off. Sausages I had for fingers people. My left arm and my neck was hurting. By late Saturday night and Sunday morning I was totally scared. I really thought that I was experiencing a heart episode of some sort. Congestive heart failure was on the top of my list.

Sunday morning I got ready for church. It took me forever. I had to keep stopping and sitting down. I could barely get my hair fixed because I couldn't hold my arms up for very long. I decided that after church I would take myself to the urgent care clinic. After much deliberation we decided my mom would take me (didn't want the kids exposed to the germy waiting room). Diagnosis: Bronchitis, Pleurisy, Sinuitis and Double Ear Infection. I was relieved that I wasn't dying (even though I felt like it) and decided DEFINITELY that dying from heart issues is not how I want to go. Seriously, as if I needed a wake call. I got one anyway. Waking up with a racing heart and not being able to breathe is scary. What if the next time I don't wake up or it doesn't return to normal? Not questions I fancy asking myself or even thinking about.

Then in my inbox Monday morning I got a little email from Webmd. Yes, now my fears are justified, but somehow I am not comforted by that. I believe one of the greatest weapons or tools we have in our healthcare is knowledge. I google health issues way too much, but hey, I know my stuff. I know, without doubt, that knowing the warning signs of heart attacks and strokes saves lives. Its proven. So I thought I would do you all a favor and share part of this article with you all.

Twelve Possible Heart Symptoms to NEVER Ignore:
1. Anxiety-a sense of impending doom
2. Chest discomfort
3. Cough
4. Dizziness
5. Fatigue-especially among women
6. Nausea or lack of appetite
7. Pain in other parts of the body-pain begins in the chest and spreads to the shoulders, arms, elbows, back, neck, jaw, or abdomen. But sometimes there is no chest pain -- just pain in these other body areas. The pain might come and go.
8. Rapid or irregular pulse
9. Shortness of breath
10. Sweating
11. Swelling
12. Weakness

Now do you see why I was more that a little concerned that I was having a heart issue. I was having 8 of those symptoms. If it had been heart related, I probably wouldn't be sitting here typing this post today. I waited too long. I shouldn't have. I won't again.

Please go and read the entire article. It's not long but it's worth the read to you or your sister or your parents or your spouse. Its true that people who are overweight are at a greater risk for heart attack, but thin and seemingly healthy people have also fallen victim to heart attack and/or heart disease. Know the symptoms and never take them lightly.

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