Aspirin, Google May Have Saved Rosie O’Donnell’s Life

I am lucky to be here.

Rosie O’Donnell‘s problem began on August 14 a few hours after helping a large women who was stuck and struggling to get out of her car. Ms. O’Donnell felt aching pain in her chest and arms and also felt nauseated, vomitted and had clammy skin. She googled online for “women’s heart attack symptoms” and found she had several of them but was initially in denial about having a heart attack and didn’t call 911.

She did take an aspirin, however. (Taking an aspirin as soon as symptoms start greatly improves the chance of survival.)

The next day Ms. O’Donnell went to see a cardiologist who did an electrocardiogram (EKG) and immediately sent her to the hospital. Further tests showed that Rosie had a 99% “widow maker” blockage in one of her coronary arteries and she was successfully treated with a stent. She lived to tell the tale on her blog.

One woman dies almost every minute from cardiovascular disease



It is the number 1 killer of women age 20 and over. In fact, cardiovascular disease kills more than 450,000 women a year, more than the next five causes of death combined, including cancer.

Research has shown that 80% of heart attacks in women are preventable if women make the right choices for their hearts, such as changing their eating habits, getting regular exercise and managing their cholesterol and blood pressure.

Signs That You Might Be Having a Heart Attack!

  1. Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  2. Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath. This feeling may occur with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs of discomfort. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you or someone you are with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don’t wait longer than five minutes before calling 9-1-1 for help.

To become heart healthy today, check out the American Heart Association‘s site Go Red for Women.

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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