Heart disease is the number one killer of women

Published: Dec. 29, 2016 at 5:47 PM CST
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If you thought that heart disease wasn't a huge issue, you may want to think again.

"One of the most common misconceptions is that this is not a problem for women and unfortunately it is the number one cause of death for women over the age of 35," said Chelsie Doane, a Physician Assistant at Nebraska Heart Institute.

And though one 35-year-old woman didn't die, she was close to it.

"The last thing I remember was them giving me a shot of morphine for the pain and at that moment I actually coded. My body tensed up and flew back. I quit breathing. They actually had to use an AED defibrillator to get my heart going again," said Jessica Jarman, a patient at NHI.

Women typically don't have the same symptoms as men, or any at all for that matter.

"Women will sometimes have more subtle symptoms like increase of shortness of breathe, decrease exercise tolerance, sometimes some jaw discomfort. Or back pain is their main symptom of angina or lack of blood flow to the heart muscle, which can lead to a heart attack," said Doane.

That's exactly what happened to Jarman, when she was only 33-years-old.

"It wasn't my chest, it was more in my joints. I hurt really bad in like my shoulders, in my elbows, and in my upper back," said the NHI patient.

Now, the heart attack survivor has a message for women everywhere.

"Educate yourself. Know the facts, know the signs, know the symptoms. Don't ignore that voice in your head that says, don't be afraid to call 9-1-1. Stand up for yourself and have a voice," said Jarman.

Doane recommends to make an appointment with your doctor to test for heart disease.

And although there is not a cure, she reassures that there are medications to help prolong your life.