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West Lake Hills Woman Cycles Several Miles With Heart Attack
If you felt short of breath on a bike ride, would you think you were having a heart attack? A West Lake Hills woman never suspected it, but cardiologists say often times there are no symptoms for women. In the U.S., one in four women dies of heart disease making it the number one killer.
"It was the middle of a Sunday afternoon, 95 degrees, one o'clock in the afternoon." said 60-year-old Katie Reissig. "I decided to get on the bike and go for a ride."
It was Reissig's first ride since the completing the BP MS 150, a 175 mile trek from Houston to Austin. "I thought I'm just going to take it easy, I'm going to do a nice 15 to 20 mile ride 'cause I hadn't ridden in a while," she said.
Just five miles in, she felt winded. "When I started riding Kitty Hill I started feeling this tightness in my chest like somebody was squeezing on my chest," said Reissig.
Dr. Vijay Divakaran, a cardiologist at Scott and White Healthcare in Round Rock, says she ignored the warning signs. "Subtle symptoms such as shortness of breath from exertion or chest tightness, feeling of indigestion, shoulder pain, pain in the neck these are unusual symptoms and these may be the only symptoms of heart disease."
Reissig rode 15 miles before she caught the attention of a nurse driving by. "She said your pulse is racing and she said I really think you need to go to the emergency room immediately," she said.
"So every second that we lose in opening up that artery there's more and more heart muscle cells that are dying," said Dr. Divakaran.
"The monitor immediately told them I was having a heart attack," said Reissig. "They said she's having a heart attack and I said who's having a heart attack, and they said you are and I said I am?"
Dr. Divakaran says her right coronary artery was 100 percent blocked. Even in the emergency room, Reissig insists she never felt any pain.
She wishes she had seen her family history as a bigger warning sign. Her mother, father, brother and sister have all suffered heart attacks.
"If it's in your family history go get checked," said Reissig. "I had absolutely no symptoms prior."