PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — February is Heart Health Month, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the leading cause of death in the United States.
Forty-six percent of women don’t know heart disease is their No. 1 killer, while older people are most at risk. Heart disease can happen to anyone anytime.
One Montgomery County mother says she’s lucky to be alive.
Amy Cavaliere can have fun playing Monopoly with her family now. A year ago, she was in a coma, on a ventilator.
“I had a spontaneous coronary artery dissection that resulted in a massive heart attack and cardiac arrest,” Amy said.
She was 35, healthy and fit, busy in Royersford with her family. One morning, getting the kids ready for school, her arms started hurting.
“I kept saying to my husband, ‘What did I lift yesterday that’s making me so sore?’ But I just brushed it off; I kept getting ready for the day,” Amy recalled.
Then came the crushing pain in her chest, trouble breathing and that’s when her husband insisted on calling 911, as the drama unfolded in front of the kids.
“They watched their mom have a heart attack. And that’s hard. That’s hard,” Amy said, wiping away tears.
Once in the hospital, Amy had a series of life-threatening set backs.
“It’s as scary as anything and even to this day, you worry about it,” Amy’s husband John Paul said. “Heart attacks can happen to everybody and anybody. It’s not just old, out of shape heavy smokers, because she’s none of those things.”
Amy agreed saying, “The face of heart attack has changed; the face of heart attack is no longer someone older out of shape. That’s not the face anymore. I’m the face of heart attack. I’m a young, fit woman who could have died from this.”
Amy says her best friend, her husband, saved her life by calling paramedics. She had traditional symptoms but doctors say heart attacks in women often come with unusual symptoms like nausea or back pain.