Brittany Murphy, the cheerful, actress filled with a child like spirit, famous for her roles in 8 Mile, Clueless, and Uptown Girls, died on Sunday of sudden cardiac arrest, not a heart attack at the tender age of 32. Her mother, Sharon found her unresponsive after Brittany went to the bathroom and failed to come back. Her mom frantically called 911 while Brittany’s husband, Monjack tried to revive her in the shower.
According to her husband, Murphy “had been complaining of shortness of breath and severe abdominal pain‚Äù for the previous 7 to 10 days. He was not overly alarmed because she often suffered from severe menstrual pains. Authorities said Monday it appeared Brittany Murphy died of natural causes after becoming ill with flulike symptoms in the days before she collapsed in the bathroom of her Hollywood Hills home.
Heart Disease is the #1 killer among American Women. According to the American Heart Association nearly 37 percent of all female deaths in America occur from Cardiovascular Disease, which includes Coronary Heart Disease, stroke and other common cardiovascular diseases. In 2005, coronary heart disease claimed the lives of 213,572 females compared with 41,116 lives from breast cancer and 67,894 from lung cancer.
It’s important that we know the warning signs for cardiac arrest, heart attack and heart failure. The symptoms are similar, yet very different and require different action.
Cardiac arrest strikes immediately and without warning. Here are the signs:
- Sudden loss of responsiveness (no response to tapping on shoulders).
- No normal breathing (the victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds).
If these signs of cardiac arrest are present, tell someone to call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number and get an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if one is available and you begin Cardiopulmonary resuscitation( CPR) immediately.
Heart attack warning signs include:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
Heart failure means that your heart isn’t pumping blood as well as it should. It keeps working, but the body doesn’t get all the blood and oxygen it needs.
See a doctor if you notice heart failure symptoms such as:
- Swelling in feet, ankles and/or legs, called edema
- Fatigue that can be due to fluid buildup in lungs, called pulmonary congestion
Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives… maybe your own. Don’ wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number.
Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services staff can begin treatment when they arrive ‚Äî up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car and are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped.
What Can I do to Help:
- Do not smoke or use tobacco products
- Get Active
- Eat a Heart Healthy Diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get regular health screenings
Heart disease kills more women than men every year and does not discriminate by age or race. Having even one risk factor doubles the chance of developing heart disease, experts say, and having three or more increases it tenfold. Get moving, eat healthy and get rid of the tobacco so you have a beautiful 2010.