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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Watching Dr Oz 10/25/12: Rosie O'Donnell's Heart Attack, Heart Attack Warning Signs, Heart Attack Risk Factors, Aspirin to Save Lives

The Dr. Oz Show
Airdate: October 25, 2012
Dr. Oz's Exclusive Interview With Rosie O'Donnell

  • Rosie O'Donnell talks exclusively with Dr. Oz about her heart attack
  • Heart attack warning signs every woman should know
  • Risk factors of heart attack and how to reduce them
  • What Rosie won't leave home without: aspirin

Rosie O'Donnell talks to Dr. Oz about her recent heart attack. What are the warning signs of a heart attack? Rosie and Dr. Oz talk about warning signs, risk factors and how to reduce them, and what Rosie won't leave home without.

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Dr. Oz's Exclusive Interview With Rosie O'Donnell

Less than a year ago, Rosie O'Donnell - star of stage, screen, television, author of several books - appeared on The Dr. Oz Show to talk about her struggles with weight loss. Today, she's back to talk about her recent heart attack. She's the biggest, most well-known celebrity to experience the “widow maker” heart attack and survive.

Ms. O'Donnell sat right down and said, I had a heart attack. She's feeling better than ever. The day after having a stent put in place, she said she feels brighter.

The day of her heart attack, Ms. O'Donnell and her wife, Michelle, were going to the mall. In the parking lot, they saw a woman parked in the handicapped space struggling to get out of her car. Rosie said the woman so small and so weak she hardly weighed anything and wasn't strong enough to help Rosie help her out of the car.

Two hours later, Rosie felt pain in both of her arms and in her right breast. She thought she pulled a muscle from helping the woman out of the car. Later in the day, Rosie was at home painting with her son and he said she looked like a ghost she was so pale. She was feeling tired and went upstairs to lay down. The trip up the stairs was exhausting and she immediately fell asleep.

That afternoon, Rosie went to her therapist appointment and even asked her therapist if she could be having a heart attack. Together, they got online and looked up the symptoms. Rosie said some of the symptoms fit what she was feeling yet she dismissed them. She went home and went back to bed.

After waking from another nap, Rosie said she ate some crackers and had water. Michelle and her kids all said something was wrong and she should probably go to the hospital but she dismissed them. As soon as Rosie got upstairs she threw up. It was a weird kind of vomit coming out of no where and it was very non-typical.

Rosie said to Michelle she thought she was having a heart attack but, again, dismissed it. Michelle gave her four baby aspirins and Rosie when back to sleep.

She didn't go to the doctor until 4pm the next day, a full day and a half since her first symptoms. Surprisingly, 50% of women who experience these symptoms of a heart attack ignore them and most die.

Ms. O'Donnell said it was her body's way of saying enough already, it's time to take care of yourself. A friend visiting Rosie in the hospital asked the nurse how well she was doing. The nurse said she excellent because everyone else who has this type of heart attack are dead.

If this or anything of this severity happened to Michelle or her children, Rosie said would have immediately taken them to the hospital and wouldn't have taken no for an answer. Rosie said she didn't want to bother anyone, didn't want to get out of her PJ's, and feared that she may be weighed at the hospital. Funny but true – we women think of these things. 

Dr. Oz: The Widow Maker Heart Attack

Dr. Oz is amazed Rosie is alive. Rosie is amazed she is alive. The blockage in her heart is called the widow maker and more often is called the widower maker. Plaque build up in the heart slows down blood flow. When scabs of plaque break off they enter the heart creating an erratic heart rate and damage the tissue of the heart causing a bruise. Most people, most women, who experience this type of heart attack don't survive. And that fact Rosie went a day and a half after her heart attack before going to the doctor her survival is even more amazing.

Dr. Oz showed a tissue sample of a woman's heart, a woman who didn't survive the widow maker, the heart was covered in fat and filled with hard tissue – plaque.

The stent inserted into Rosie's heart was put in place by going through her wrist. A wire went through her blood vessels transporting a balloon into the blocked artery. When the balloon opens it crushes the plaque allowing blood to again flow through the heart.

Dr. Oz showed a video from Rosie's actual stent operation. One side of her heart was not receiving much, if any, blood. Once the balloon was inflated, that same area, previously without blood flow, lit up like a rush hour highway map on the TV news report. It was truly surprising how much blood was not getting through.

Dr. Allison Spatz, cardiologist and Rosie's doctor, it used to be believed that women experienced heart attacks at later stages in their lives than men. That's just not true. Women have the same level of risk as men when it comes to heart attacks.

Rosie shared that she was 10 years old when her mother died and as she was being wheeled into the operating room for her stent procedure, she was thinking that her daughter is now nine years old. Rosie doesn't remember much about her mother and wondered what her own daughter would remember about her if she died. She didn't want to leave her children.

Michelle, Rosie's wife, joined them on the stage. After the heart attack, Michelle says the family switched to a plant based diet and started taking short, regular walks gradually increasing the time. Rosie had been taking care Michelle during the summer while she struggled with her own health issues.

Heart attack risks double for those caring for a sick spouse. Rosie said she ate every piece of sugar in the hospital gift shops – don't clap for that, it probably killed me, she said.

Visiting different hospitals over the summer, Rosie and Michelle struggled with the pain Michelle was experiencing and trying to figure out what was going on. Rosie contacted everyone she knew to try to figure it out, she even contacted Dr. Oz. It wasn't until after Michelle went into surgery and the tumors in her stomach removed were doctors able to diagnose her with Desmoid tumors.

[The Mayo Clinic's website says “Desmoid tumors, a rare type of soft tissue neoplasm (new abnormal growth or tumor), usually develop in the arms, legs, abdomen or chest of children and adults.”]

Dr. Oz, Rosie, and Michelle have teamed up to increase awareness of Desmoid tumors as well as raise funds for Rosie and Michelle's new organization Click here to visit and learn more about the organization and the disease

Dr. Oz: Heart Attack Warning Signs

Heart attacks are the number one killer of women today. The signs of a heart attack in women are different the signs for men.

Rosie said one problem is that the media doesn't talk about women's heart attacks or women's signs of a heart attack and on television and in the movies all you see is a man clutching his chest then falling down. Her symptoms were bad but not that bad and they came on slowly.

Dr. Oz Women Heart Attack Sign #1: Pain
Pain can be experienced anywhere in the body during a heart attack but commonly pain radiates from the arms, or one arm, the jaw, neck, or shoulder. The arms may feel weighty and tingly. Pain will be much more than moderate. Pressure in the chest is often felt and compared to a heavy weight on the chest. If this pain lasts for more than one minute and is associated with exertion, it's time to call 9-1-1.

Dr. Oz Women Heart Attack Sign #2: Nausea and Indigestion
During a heart attack, nausea and indigestion that is not soothed immediately with antacids could be a sign of a heart attack.

Dr. Oz Women Heart Attack Sign #3: Unusual Fatigue
Rosie said she was unbearably tired during her heart attack. Walking up her stairs was exhausting. This is extremely common, 70% of women who have a heart attack feel this unusual fatigue for the days or weeks before a heart attack. The type of fatigue that doesn't allow for normal chores and isn't relieved with rest or sleep.

Dr. Oz Women Heart Attack Sign #4: Dizziness and Light-Headed
This type of dizziness and light-headed feeling doesn't go away when sitting with the eyes closed.

Dr. Oz Women Heart Attack Sign #5: Shortness of Breath
This is the biggest warning sign signaling that the heart cannot pump the blood. Shortness of breathing occurring during normal activity is a common sign of a heart attack.

Rosie urged women to not be afraid of calling 9-1-1. Don't be worried about everyone else around you, don't be afraid of the cost because the cost of not calling is your life and leaving your children without a mother. Rosie wants every woman to know about these risks and to talk about them with their daughters.

Dr. Oz: How To Cut heart Attack Risk Factors

Rosie said she knew her risk factors, being over weight and having a family history, but ignored them.

Dr. Oz Heart Attack Risk Factor #1: Family History...
There are several risks factors that are out of our control but should be considered when factoring risks. Being over the age of 55 increases risks of heart attack along with body shape and family history.

Dr. Oz Heart Attack Risk Factor #2: Belly Fat
Belly fat is a risk that you can change. Belly fat releases toxic chemicals into the body and increases the amount of plaque that can accumulate in the heart. Simply gaining 20 pounds increases heart attack risks by 50%.

Dr. Oz Heart Attack Risk Factor #3: Unhealthy Diet
Rosie said before her heart attack she would not have believed that eating healthy was so enjoyable. What used to be her favorite junk foods have less of a pull. Sugar and salt were terribly appealing to her and Dr. Oz said do devastating things to the heart.

Dr. Oz Heart Attack Risk Factor #4: Sedentary Lifestyle
This is the most important place to start in reducing heart attack risks. Dr. Oz said getting up and moving helps to reduce every other risk factor.

Dr. Oz Heart Attack Risk Factor #5: Smoking
There's just nothing good about smoking, except when you quit.

Dr. Oz Heart Attack Risk Factor #6: High Blood Pressure
Increased blood pressure causes the heart to work harder.

Dr. Oz Heart Attack Risk Factor #7: Stress
Over time, stress can contribute to higher blood pressure, increased belly fat, poor diet and on and on.

Dr. Oz Heart Attack Risk Factor #8: High Cholesterol
Cholesterol increases the chance of developing plaque which can damage the heart.

Dr. Spatz said that women who have a heart attack have an increased risk of a second heart attack. Women who have experienced a heart attack can decrease the risks of a second heart attack by lowering cholesterol levels, changing to a healthy diet, and exercise.

Rosie's heart attack was on August 14 and since then her risk numbers have significantly improved. Rosie said it really works and you can change your numbers that quick. 

Dr. Oz: What Rosie Won't Leave Home Without

Rosie said there's nothing that makes you want to live more than being that close to death.

Dr. Oz encouraged viewers to download his printable heart attack checklist that can be kept in a wallet or purse. The form also has space to list medications taken as well as family history.

Rosie said everyone should have aspirin on hand. Carry aspirin with you at all times, she said, and take an aspirin should you feel the symptoms of a heart attack and then call 9-1-1. October 25, 2012, Dr. Oz is giving away the handy little aspirin dispenser that fits on your key chain.

At Heart® Emergency Aspirin has teamed up with Dr. Oz to give-away 5,000 dispensers on October 25, 2012 at 3pm EST. Click here to get more details on this give-away.

[If you are reading this post after 3pm on October 25, 2012 then know that the give-away has ended. WatchingDrOz is not a part of this give-away, it is sponsored by Dr. Oz and The Dr. Oz Show. If you have questions about this contest please contact The Dr. Oz Show through their website at]

[Click the link to read posts from Ms. O'Donnell's previous appearance on The Dr. Oz Show:

Dr. Oz: Rosie's Theater Kids

Over a decade ago, Rosie created a theater program for the poorest schools in Manhattan. It's a 17-week program that gives kids an opportunity to in a theater production and to see a theater production. Many of the kids who started in the program in the early days have graduated high school and won college scholarships.

Visit to learn more about her program.

****This post is in progress. Check back often for updates. I'm typing away!****

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