FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — Shortness of breath sent Cindy Lazzari to the doctor nearly three years ago revealing a 90 percent blockage in the largest main artery of the heart, often referred to as the widow maker. Doctors cleared the blockage.
“In 2016, I had to have a stent put in and then in 2017, I wound up having a heart attack”, said Lazzari.
An ambulance rushed her to the hospital right away because she knew she was having a heart attack from the sharp pain in her chest.
“It was intense enough that I was standing completely up and when it hit, it doubled me over completely. I went down to my knees.”
Dr. Ralph Buckley with Cardiology Associates in Fairhope says women don’t always display classic heart attack symptoms of intense pain and tightness in the chest. So you need to be in tune with any symptom between your nose and belly button.
“I’ve had people in with jaw pain. They’re seeing a dentist because of jaw pain and sure enough, it was jaw pain coming from the heart. I’ve had people in physical therapy for shoulder pain and the shoulder pain was actually radiation from the heart up to the shoulder,” said Dr.Buckley.
Stomach and gall bladder pain may also be heart-related.
“They should really take their symptoms seriously and talk to their doctor about it and it’s recommended that at least after the age of 40 that you have an appointment with your primary care doctor. Just start talking about the cardiac risk factors that you have,” added Dr. Buckley.
“I want women to realize that heart disease does not discriminate no matter what age. You know your body. If there’s something going on with your body then find out what’s going on.” said Lazzari.
Dr. Buckley said risk factors that should be approached aggressively include if you smoke, are overweight, don’t eat healthily, don’t exercise regularly, have high blood pressure, cholesterol levels that go untreated and diabetes.