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Lawrence woman shares what she wants other women to learn from her major heart attack

“46 was really young. I wasn't supposed to have a heart attack. I had a lot of other things to do," said survivor Angie Loving.
Lawrence woman shares heart attack story
Posted at 6:53 AM, Apr 19, 2024

LAWRENCE, Kan. — One in three women die of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.

Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is a broad term for several complications. It can lead to a heart attack, which is where Angie Loving’s story starts.

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Loving had a widow-maker heart attack at 46. She said she never had heart issues on her radar because she was active, ate right and considered herself too young.

Her first signs were heartburn which she blamed on pizza from the night before. Then, she felt light-headed at the doctor for a scheduled follow-up appointment. She even looked up the signs of a heart attack in women, but wrote it off again because she only had one symptom.

Later that evening, she still was unsure and decided to go to the hospital. Her heart attack struck while she was behind the wheel.

“It took even me driving to the hospital. I didn't think I was having a heart attack. I just thought something was off. And now looking back I shouldn't have waited so long. But I think a lot of times we try to focus on well, nothing's happened to me. I'll be fine. This will pass,” said Loving.

Loving was placed on life support and originally was told she needed a heart transplant. She said her original heart, the one that suffered the heart attack, started working again.

Today, she still feels the effects of her heart attack as the right side of her body is numb. But, she said she lives with a renewed outlook on life.

“Just to share my story with others that may think the same thing, this would never and could never happen to me. Just to bring any kind of awareness that might make a difference later to them is close to my heart and kind of closes my story a little bit to say that's the reason why I'm here,” said Loving.

Dr. Michelle Dew has spent 18 years as a cardiologist. Loving and Dr. Dew both agree that women have to be the biggest advocates for their health and speak up if something seems off.

"We are not the same physical beings that we were two years ago, five years ago, and it's really important for me to let people know that when menopause happens, you are in a whole new game. The blood pressure and all likelihood will increase cholesterol will increase,” said Dr. Dew.

Dr. Dew emphasized the importance of staying on top of our health and encourages people to keep a journal of things that seem wrong. That way, she said, the doctor has data to go through when a person visits with heart issues.

Dr. Dew educates women on how their body changes due to menopause and the effect that has on their heart.

“You need to be aware that around the age of 51. That's the average age for menopause. That's when most women's blood pressure and cholesterol will start to increase, making them more likely to have heart disease. So you really need to know your medical issues,” said Dr. Dew.

You can learn more about heart disease in both men and women at the American Heart Association’s website.