Mercy Cardiologist, Dr. Peter Reyes, Discusses Women and Cardiovascular Health
Time is critical when a person experiences a heart attack, but studies indicate women wait longer than men to call for help. One possible reason is they may not know they're having a heart attack.
It was just two years ago that Debra Utterbaugh lived a different life. She was active, a mother of two and had a busy career.
The fit and seemingly healthy woman had a heart attack when she was only 48.
"I have a rare form called coronary artery spasm disease, and then I have the most severe, which is called prinzmetal," Utterbaugh said. "It's almost like a walking time bomb. My heart can go into spasm at any point."
It's difficult to treat and diagnose.
"Heart attacks are the major killer for women. One in every four women will die from a heart attack. It's a major concern," said Peter A. Reyes, M.D., a board certified cardiologist with The Heart Center at Mercy in Baltimore, MD.
Women can have atypical symptoms.
"Not with the crushing chest pain, but maybe pain in their back, or nausea or pain in the jaw," Dr. Reyes said.
It's one of the reasons it's so important for women to pay attention to their bodies, which Utterbaugh knows from firsthand experience.
"I want to hopefully teach one woman to pay attention to what they're going through and really get checked out and don't stop with, 'It's anxiety.' It could be more," she said.
View Mercy cardiologist Dr. Peter Reyes’ interview regarding heart disease in women.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.