One woman's lesson in survival: Knowing the signs of a heart attack

NBC25/FOX66'S Leslie Toldo shares one woman's story a lesson in survival. (Photo: WEYI/WSMH)

SAGINAW, Mich. - Every 80 seconds, a woman suffers a heart attack and heart attacks are more deadly for women, than they are for men.

One reason is women do not have the symptoms most people associate with heart attack.

NBC25/FOX66'S Leslie Toldo shares one woman's story a lesson in survival.

The day started like most.

Amy Temple was at her desk, working away in the billing department at MMR ambulance company in Saginaw.

"A couple hours after I got there, I started feeling weird, like I had heartburn, and I was nauseated," she said.

Amy kept plugging away, in spite of what she thought was painful heartburn. But things got worse, Amy was starting to feel very ill.

As the minutes ticked by, Amy finally decided to call it a day.

But Amy's co-workers-trained to spot serious medical issues, were not about to let her leave.

A paramedic knew her symptoms were much more than heartburn.

She was sweating profusely, and turned a shade of gray.

"She came in, started asking me a lot of questions, ended up putting me on a heart monitor and said things didn't look good,” said Amy.

Before she knew it, amy found herself in the back of a company vehicle.

Amy's paramedic co-workers were now her rescuers, getting her to covenant's emergency room, not a minute to soon.

"ER doc said, ‘I think you're having a heart attack, and we're going to take you to the cath lab’."

a heart attack.

Amy's co-workers knew something she did not: women's heart attack symptoms are not the standard "elephant sitting on your chest" pain.

They are in fact much like what Amy was experiencing-

it was a whirlwind.

Although Amy has a major risk factor, a family history of heart attack, she thought she had no reason to worry.

"I've been watched for my cholesterol... huh... it was a little high... not awful bad. but my blood pressure was fine, everything else was fine."

Just two hours after her symptoms started, Amy found herself in the recovery room, wondering what if.

What if she hadn't been at work when this happened? What if she'd gone home?

"I really don't know what would have happened if I had not have been here, and somebody would have said, 'you need to go to the ER.' Cause I don't know that I would have. I probably would not have. Knowing me, I would not have."

There would have been no flashing lights. No ambulance.

"I'm pretty sure I would not be sitting here right now."

so now she shares her story, hoping someone, anyone might benefit from it.

"If it makes one person aware that this is not normal, and to go to the ER, yeah, it's worth it."

women can have chest pain with heart attacks, but often experience pressure, or pain in the arms, stomach or back.

Ultimately, know your body.

If symptoms are unusual for you, don't leave anything to chance.

Also, keep up with physicals and know your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

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