Glee star Dot-Marie Jones urges women to force their doctors to listen after suffering a near-fatal “widow-maker” heart attack
Glee star Dot-Marie Jones opened up on Instagram about her recent heart attack and how she survived the typically fatal “widow maker,” which occurs when the left anterior descending (LAD) artery is blocked and can’t supply blood to the larger part of the heart. Thanfully, Dot-Maried survived, and lived to tell the story of how she was misdiagnosed by doctors twice and that when it comes to heart attacks, women’s symptoms are different than men’s and it’s on us to push our doctors to listen, even when our symptoms might sound atypical for a heart attack.
Dot-Marie shared photos of her left anterior descending (LAD) artery before and after receiving a stent, and then went into the saga that led to the heart attack and how doctors continually misdiagnosed her symptoms.
“I had been having a burning sensation across my chest while walking and when I would stop walking it went away,” Jones explained in a Instagram post. “When I went to the internist, I was told it was [bronchospasm] that would go away.”
She said the burning sensation got worse and went back to the doctors a week later, only to be “told it was asthma and given an inhaler, which did nothing.”
Finally, her wife insisted she see a new doctor, who ended up saving her life after the heart attack. Dot-Marie then took to Instagram to warn other women about heart attacks and why it’s important to push your doctors if you sense they are dismissing your symptoms.
“Keep asking question and anything around the heart area or anything you’re not sure of!” Dot-Marie wrote. “Women have different symptoms then men and not all the same!”
This isn’t the first time someone has spoken out on social media about the surprising ways in which heart attacks present in women. One woman went viral on Twitter in 2018 when she shared her heart attack story. She explained how she never experienced chest pain, but felt burning and aches in her “upper back, shoulder blades & equally down both arms,” which she thought was just a muscle spasm, so she continued to power through the pain until she had a heart attack.
One cardiologist responded to her thread with a short list of heart attack symptoms that are specific to women.
We’re grateful to all the women who are spreading awareness about these misunderstood symptoms. If our health care providers aren’t going to educate us, we’ll do it for each other.