Erica Frank shares her story about having two heart attacks at the age of 38. Erica says she was getting ready for work like a normal workday, and she started getting pressure and discomfort on the side of her neck and that escalated, and she started having chest pains. She says, “I felt sick, dizzy, exhausted, just very tired, so I knew something was wrong. I started having numbing discomfort down the side of my arm and I knew that was a sign of a heart attack.” She goes on to say, “I didn’t want my kids to see me distressed or call 911 so I called my husband and asked to come home from work, that it was urgent, but I didn’t tell him what I thought was going on because I wanted to keep things calm.” She went to the emergency room, and after blood work it was confirmed that she was having a heart attack.
After staying in the hospital overnight, she says, “I was told I had a tear and my type of heart attack was a spontaneous coronary artery dissection; no prior signs, no prior issues, just a coronary wall split and that caused the heart attack. She says I was told it was a fluke and it just kind of happened and to go home and take it easy and within 24 hours I was back in the emergency room with another heart attack.”
After the second heart attack she says, “I was told the blood vessels were just, kind of, weak and my body was just kind of reacting, not quite sure what to do.” The tear she says was so narrow that they didn’t put in a stent because they were concerned it would cause more vascular damage with that area and she was medically managed with medicine.
Erica did research on her own, finding resources such as the American Heart Association. She says, “what I found is most often women are patients that have it with no prior issues, not a high risk for heart disease, also, most women have an underlying vascular condition known as FMD, fiber muscular dysplasia. She says she pushed her doctors, went to specialists and it was confirmed that she had that disease.”
Dr. Lorrie Clemo, Go Red for Women chairwoman says “we are so excited that tomorrow we will be brining back our Go Red for Women luncheon. After two years of going virtual, we are going to be able to be in person. So, tomorrow at D’Youville University we will be bringing together supporters and members of our community that are interested in improving the health and lives of women in Western New York.”
She says the whole purpose is to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke and what you can do to prevent it and also, what you can do to be aware of the signs if you do have some signs of a heart attack or a stroke. Dr. Clemo says, “Tomorrow will be all about empowering women to know about tier health and take steps and support the American Heart Association and the fantastic work they do.”
For more information go to heart.org.