Checking in with your heart: One woman’s rare heart attack story

Good Day Dakota
With nearly half of Americans struggling with some type of cardiovascular disease, it’s important to take care of your heart.

We recently sat down with one woman who had a rare heart attack and didn’t even know she was having one.

Trina Neameyer told me she did have a family history of heart problems but lived a very healthy lifestyle. She still to this day is in shock about even having one.

Neameyer says, “I got tearful. I remember the tears but that was me going woah…I just had a heart attack. I was just processing…like wow.”
 
Neameyer told me she did not even realize she had a heart attack when it first happened. She just felt a heaviness on her chest and didn’t think anything of it at the time.
 
“I had a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, and so a piece of my artery broke off and then the blood filled in behind that piece that broke and flapped it close and that artery was 100% blocked,” says Neameyer.
 
Her doctor told me this is a very rare occurrence and her condition is still a little mysterious even to the medical field.
 
Sanford Health Cardiologist, Dr. Nayan Desai says, “She was physically active, she had done the cat scan of her arteries to see calcium buildup which was zero, two years back which was very reassuring. She kind of ignored her symptoms a little bit early, but because she was physically active she got a sense that something was not right with her and she did seek medical attention.”
 
Desai says at the end of the day it was most likely caused by stress. Stress that Neameyer said she thought she had under control.
 
“I am a counselor by profession so I know how to navigate a lot of stress. So I was doing well from exercising, and I have a strong faith life and family support system. So I had all those good coping mechanisms, but apparently not enough for what my heart was enduring.”
 
Neameyer says that she is only about 80-85% back to normal, and has had to make a lot of changes to her lifestyle.
 
“I don’t have the endurance or stamina that I once did, so my walking friends know that we can’t walk at the pace we used to go and all those kind of things.”
 
Neameyer advises to really listen to your medical professionals and don’t dismiss your physical symptoms as signs of stress like she did.
 
“Because she did come in on time, we could save a lot of her heart muscle and there was very minimal damage to her heart because the procedure was performed in a timely fashion,” says Desai. “If we would have just let it sit there and let the artery be 100% blocked, I think in both short term and long term it would have not been good.”
 
Dr. Desai adds that you should be trying to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week.

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