Sharon Corlette, of Plainville, was 68 years old in May of 2015 when her son got married. She was on the dance floor, having a good time, when her sister noticed something.
“She said I was sweating profusely. I didn’t even realize it or think that it was anything abnormal,” Corlette explained. Shortly after the wedding, Corlette began noticing a strange feeling while exercising. “After one or two minutes, I would feel a funny sensation – almost like a hole in my chest.”
Corlette told her primary care physician about the pain and sweating and he immediately referred her to Heather Swales, MD, cardiologist with the Heart & Vascular Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. Dr. Swales put Corlette through a series of tests and procedures, which revealed a serious situation with her heart.
“You only have five coronary arteries and four of mine were blocked,” said Corlette. “I mean I knew I had high blood pressure and my cholesterol wasn’t good, but I never ever thought something was that wrong with me.” Corlette would eventually undergo quadruple bypass surgery, and is now feeling great at 75 years old.
Dr. Swales says that Corlette was experiencing the sweating and discomfort in her chest because her heart was struggling to get oxygen under stress due to the blockages in her arteries. “Over time she would’ve developed symptoms of congestive heart failure or she would’ve had a heart attack,” said Swales. “She could’ve had cardiac arrest, which is sudden death, and she might not have made it to the hospital.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. Dr. Swales says that women should pay close attention to their health and the risk factors, which include: smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, diabetes, physical inactivity, obesity, and an unhealthy diet.
For men and women, chest pain is a classic sign of a heart attack, but women often tend to have more subtle symptoms that they may ignore, according to Dr. Swales. Some of the symptoms include:
Pain in the neck, jaw or shoulder
Shortness of breath
Nausea or vomiting.
“These can all be signs that the heart is struggling and this is the warning before the big event and this is your chance to get checked out and it’s never wrong to ask your doctor if this is something you need to worry about,” said Swales. “There’s testing we can do to see what’s going on.”
Corlette has high praise for the team of highly-skilled professionals at Hartford HealthCare who helped save her life and has a message for all women when it comes to their own health.
“Never hesitate. Never wait. Go to the doctor if you notice something isn’t right. You only have one heart. You have to take care of it,” said Corlette.
Dr. Heather Swales is a cardiologist with the Heart & Vascular Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut and co-director of the Women’s Heart Wellness Program. For more information about heart health, or to book an appointment with a cardiologist, call 860.224.5694, or visit https://hartfordhealthcare.org/heart
Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Monday, 21 February 2022 18:47. Updated: Monday, 21 February 2022 18:50.