You know that feeling when you're laying in bed, with a chest full of gunk and a head full of woe, worrying whether this cold might be the death of you? Well, in this guy’s case, he wasn’t far wrong.
Ed Covert, a 46-year-old man from New York, started to feel under the weather with an unusual feeling in his chest. As reported by Reader’s Digest, he believed he was falling sick with a virus, but it was later revealed he was actually suffering from a series of huge heart attacks,
“I was having the full feeling in my chest, like when you’ve got a chest cold. I was coughing a lot, trying to break the stuffy feeling,” Covert told Reader’s Digest.
Covert asked a long-term friend and nurse for some cold medication, but she instantly recognized his symptoms were more sinister than he was letting on.
“The nurse gave me a quick look and said she didn’t think it was a cold and recommended I go to the hospital," he added.
After driving himself to the hospital (in retrospect, not the best idea at all), doctors gave him the bad news: he didn’t just have a bug, he had suffered two heart attacks and was on the verge of experiencing a third. Covert needed some serious changes to his lifestyle. He was a heavy smoker and worked part-time as a farm-hand, which required a lot of heavy lifting. His health complications forced him to quit this job, as well as retire early from his other occupation as a corrections officer.
Fortunately, Covert managed to receive the necessary medical attention in time and he made a recovery, but his story does highlight the importance of recognizing a heart attack, signs of which can often be misleading and unclear.
Heart attacks can be sudden and intense, although most build up slowly with mild pain or discomfort. You might experience symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, and cold sweats, but one of the most definitive symptoms is a tightness or aching sensation in your chest or left arm that may spread to your right arm, neck, jaw, or back.
Symptoms can vary hugely from person to person and, crucially, often appear differently in men and woman. A piece of research published in December 2018 found that women are notably less likely than men to attribute their symptoms to a heart attack, resulting in them waiting 37 minutes longer than men before reaching out for medical attention. Even medical doctors, especially if they are a man, aren’t always able to quickly identify symptoms of a heart attack in women.
So, while this doesn’t mean you should freak out the next time you have a cough and a headache, it’s certainly a reminder to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack and seek medical attention sooner rather than later.