A woman is sharing her traumatic story about the type of heart attack she suffered just 10 weeks after giving birth to her third child in an effort to spread awareness.
“The last thing I remember was getting about ankle-deep in the water,” Cox began. “I learned later that I had walked up all the way to the blanket where [my husband] was sitting with the baby and our oldest daughter and just kind of dropped to my knees.”
“The next thing I remember is waking up in the emergency room,” she said. Cox’s husband, Rick Maese, said his wife was “not responsive” after she fell.
“She wasn’t moving,” he said. “I turned her over and started screaming for 911.”
Cox was then airlifted to a hospital, where she underwent emergency double-bypass surgery.
Cox would later learn she had suffered a a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, or SCAD, a condition that occurs when a tear forms in a blood vessel in the heart. SCAD has no known cause and usually strikes women who are otherwise healthy.
It is also shown in studies to occur more often in women experiencing hormonal shifts, especially women who are postpartum and women who are “experiencing or close to a menstrual cycle,” according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
SCAD occurs most often in otherwise healthy people between the ages of 30 and 50, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It also reportedly affects women much more often than it does men.
Reserach shows that it is surprisingly the most common cause of pregnancy-associated heart attack and typically occurs within the first month postpartum.
And as women who experience SCAD usually have no previous heart condition, it is very important they recognize the warning signs. These include chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, heavy sweating and dizziness, per the AHA.
Cox said she had no indication she was having heart issues, saying, “I didn’t have any of the things that typically precedes a heart attack.”
She went on to share her experience on Twitter and stated how she is speaking out in hopes of bring awareness to other women as well as encourage more research to be conducted on SCAD.
“This is something that happens and there’s a whole network of survivors who choosing to go public actually probably made my diagnosis possible,” said Cox.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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