‘It wasn’t what you read in pamphlets’: Survivor warns MI symptoms are different in women

One MI survivor is raising awareness for heart attack symptoms in women after her Dec. 9 tweets about an unusual episode went viral.

Prevention reported the user, a female nurse who goes by the Twitter handle @gwheezie, called 911 after weeks of on-and-off muscle pain culminated in debilitating sweats and vomiting. She said she’d been helping a neighbor clean out her barn that week and assumed the aching had been muscle strain—not a 95 percent block in her left anterior descending artery that would require four stents.

“I want to warn women our heart attacks are different,” she wrote in her first tweet. “I never had chest pain. It wasn’t what you read in pamphlets.”

She said her pain ran across her upper back, shoulder blades and down both arms.

“I took Motrin & put a warm pack on my shoulders,” she wrote. “I almost died because I didn’t call it chest pain.”

Other women chimed into the conversation, sharing the story more than 25,000 times and contributing their own experiences. Some had thought their MIs were heartburn; others thought they’d slept at an odd angle.

According to Prevention, heart attack in women can be accompanied by fatigue, profuse sweating, nausea, breathlessness, anxiety or mild pain in the breastbone, upper back, shoulders, neck or jaw in addition to the more typically cited chest pain.

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