Heart Week: Knowing the signs of a heart attack could save your life


(WIAT) — Anyone can be the victim of a heart attack, no matter their age.

The silent killer can strike at any time, which is why it’s important to stay in good physical health and know the warning signs.  CBS42 sat down with a young woman who knows about the pain and trauma of a heart attack all too well, who was lucky enough to survive and tell her story.

Quatrina Thurman, 46, knew something was wrong when her chest pains became unbearable.

“I was moaning and groaning and bent over complaining about my chest,” Thurman said. “It was hurting real bad. It felt tight. Real, real tight like it was going to explode. “I do not like hospitals, so I’m going to wait til the last possible minute before I will go to the hospital.”

Thurman’s mother insistence saved her life that night, but the battle was not over.

Truman suffered from an infection during treatment and survived not one, but two open heart surgeries.

“She had three vessel disease,” said Dr. Jimmie Dotson, an interventional cardiologist at Grandview Medical Center. “She’s a diabetic and blood sugar wasn’t under good control, and she had to go for emergency bypass surgery.”

Dotson says that survival depends on how well patients care for themselves before an attack even happens.

“You want to make sure you’re eating a proper diet. If you have any chronic conditions, high blood pressure, you want to make sure that’s under good control because over time it damages the blood vessel,” Dotson said. “You want to make sure your diabetes is under good control and if you’re obese, even if you’re not obese, you need to be doing some type of exercise at least three or four times a week and possibly 30 minutes a day.”

Thurman believes that knowing the signs and taking them seriously saved her life. Based on her experience, she has some advice to offer to others.

“Pay attention to their body and pay attention to the signs of their body and the symptoms of their body,” Thurman said. “Don’t take the little aches and pains in your chest for granted. It doesn’t matter how small or large.”

She says she takes that advice to heart and knows that it’s how she survived a heart attack.

Some of the warning signs of a heart attack are uncomfortable pressure or pain in your chest; discomfort in your arm, back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath and breaking out in a cold sweat or experiencing nausea.

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