July 06, 2021
DENTON – Hazel Gilbert, a laboratory technician at Medical City Denton, never dreamed she would become a patient in need of lifesaving care. Now, she wants people to know about heart attacks and the early warning signs she wishes she would have heeded.
Gilbert was returning from a photo session celebrating her graduation from Texas Woman’s University when she experienced an unusual pain in her throat. As soon as she arrived home, Gilbert called out for help to her family, who called 911.
“We had been very busy at the hospital and at home,” Gilbert explains. “The week before I had discomfort in my left arm, but we had been so busy and I didn’t make an appointment with my doctor. I should have.”
Gilbert further describes feeling a pain, like feeling she had a frog in her throat.
“Being there for a patient, I knew what to do. But me having a heart attack? I never thought it would be me on the other side of the table. It was different and it was scary,” Gilbert says.
When she arrived at Medical City Denton, Gilbert was taken to the heart catheterization lab immediately where
interventional cardiologist Atif Yousuf, MD, explained that she symptoms reported by many women having a heart
attack, including weakness in her left arm and tightness in her chest and throat.
“Time is muscle, the sooner we open up the artery, the better our chances of preventing permanent damage,” says Dr. Yousuf. “One of the best things that Hazel did is to understand the importance of recognition and getting help. Because she came in quickly, there was no permanent damage to the heart muscle.”
Heart attacks in women can have different symptoms than those often described by men, including:
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms
- Chest pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in women. Gilbert and Dr. Yousuf are raising awareness about these symptoms hoping to save lives.
“Don’t take it lightly,” warns Gilbert. “It’s not always indigestion. And it’s just really, really important for you to seek help immediately.