Warning for young women about their heart health

Women's symptoms of a heart attack are different than men's

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Doctors now have a warning for younger women about their heart health. 22News is working for you with information that could save your life.

“My very first thought was I was going to die.” Sharon Owsiak went the hospital on her 65th birthday because she was having trouble breathing. Moments later she found out she was having her second heart attack, but she had no idea she had ever had her first one.

“I never had chest pain, arm pain, anything,” Owsiak said.

Now, the latest research from the Yale School of Medicine says that women are being affected by heart disease at a younger age, and that they are recovering worse than men after a heart attack.

The authors of the study say the problem is that many women are not attending rehabilitation programs critical to their recovery, following a heart attack. Something that Baystate Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehab manager Robert Barry told 22News he often sees with his patients.

“What we hear from the patients coming in is that they have other commitments. They have commitments to their children, they have commitments to their spouses, they have commitments to, you know, where ever,” Barry said.

Barry also said women’s risk factors for heart disease are not at that different than men’s, but that their symptoms of a heart attack are very different, that they’re more vague, like Sharon’s.

Sharon told 22News she is now recovering well. She has lost 60 pounds, is eating healthier, and is continuing to exercise often. “I have two small grandchildren who I want to watch grow up and so my incentive is for my family to do as good as I can,” Owsiak said.

Health experts urge women to call your doctor if you have any kind of out-of-the-ordinary, persistent pain anywhere from your waste line up to your nose.

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