When Teresa Colemer came into Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics Emergency Room in October, she didn’t think she was having a heart attack. She thought it was anxiety.
“I had been experiencing nausea, fatigue, difficulty breathing and pressure in my chest on and off for two days,” said Teresa. “I didn’t think I was having a heart attack because I had no pain. I had also had a recent echocardiogram at another facility that indicated my heart was okay.”
“I thought my symptoms were related to anxiety,” said Teresa. “I had suffered from anxiety over ten years ago and I thought I was experiencing it again. I came into Moundview’s ER hoping they would give me some medication to help me relax until I could see my regular physician. I was shocked when Dr. Olesevich, the emergency room physician, told me I was having a heart attack. I told him he was wrong.”
But, the physician wasn’t wrong. An EKG and lab test confirmed she was having a heart attack. Teresa was given a clot busting drug, stabilized and then immediately transferred to a cardiac center in Marshfield. While there it was discovered that one of her arteries had a 100 percent blockage. She had three stents put in and spent the next 7-10 days in intensive care.
“Teresa was very lucky,” said Max Olesevich, MD, the physician who treated her in Moundview’s Emergency Room. “If she hadn’t come into the emergency room when she did, she might not be here today. Women don’t always experience the same heart attack symptoms as men. Some women, like Teresa, do not feel pain and instead feel a squeezing or fullness in their chest. Whether you are a man or a woman, don’t dismiss your symptoms. Call the ambulance and get to the hospital right away. The stakes are too high to wait.”
“I knew I had some risk factors for heart disease, including diabetes and a family history of the disease, but I was working with my doctor to control my risk factors,” said Teresa. “I didn’t think I was having a heart attack so I put off going to the emergency room. That decision could have cost me my life.”
Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, is the number one killer of women and men in the United States according to a report from the American Heart Association. The month of February is American Heart Month, an opportunity for individuals to learn more about heart disease including prevention, risk factors and symptoms.
“Prevention is the key to avoiding heart disease,” said John David, MD, internist at Moundview’s Family Clinic in Friendship. “It’s important to eat healthy, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, quit smoking, limit alcohol use and control your risk factors. I recommend that all adults get a health checkup at least once a year. Your healthcare provider can check for conditions that put you at risk for heart disease such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. They can also discuss your family’s health history to help you better understand your risks.”
Today Teresa is back to work as Terminal Manager at Kobussen Buses in Adams which contracts with the Adams-Friendship School District to provide transportation for school children. She counts her blessings and hopes others will learn from her story.
“I am grateful for the excellent care in Moundview’s Emergency Room that helped save my life,” said Teresa. “I am thankful that care was available nearby when I needed it. I view every day as a gift.”
For more information on heart disease, visit Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinic’s website at www.moundview.org/health-wellness-tips.