Woman speaks out after suffering heart attack 10 weeks after giving birth to 3rd child
Erin Cox, 40, said she wants to make more women aware of the risk.
A Washington, D.C., woman is speaking out in hopes of drawing attention to the type of heart attack she suffered just 10 weeks after giving birth to her third child.
Erin Cox, 40, a Washington Post reporter, was at the beach with her family in July when she said she suddenly collapsed.
"The last thing I remember was getting about ankle deep in the water," Cox told "Good Morning America." "I learned later that I had walked up all the way to the blanket where [my husband] was sitting with the baby and our oldest daughter and just kind of dropped to my knees."
"The next thing I remember is waking up in the emergency room," she said.
Cox's husband, Rick Maese, said his wife was "not responsive" after she fell.
"She wasn’t moving," he said. "I turned her over and started screaming for 911."
Cox was airlifted to a hospital, where she underwent emergency double-bypass surgery.
She later learned she suffered a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, or SCAD, a condition that occurs when a tear forms in a blood vessel in the heart.
SCAD has no known cause and usually strikes women who are otherwise healthy. It is also shown in studies to occur more often in women experiencing hormonal shifts, especially women who are postpartum and women who are "experiencing or close to a menstrual cycle," according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
SCAD occurs most often in otherwise healthy people between the ages of 30 and 50. It also affects women much more often than it does men, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
It is the most common cause of pregnancy-associated heart attack and typically occurs within the first month postpartum, research shows.
Since women who experience SCAD typically have no previous heart condition, it is especially important they recognize the warning sings, which include chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, heavy sweating and dizziness, according to the AHA.
Cox said she had no indication she was having heart issues, saying, "I didn’t have any of the things that typically precedes a heart attack."
She shared her experience on Twitter and said she is speaking out in hopes of educating other women and drawing attention to the need for more research on SCAD.
"This is something that happens and there’s a whole network of survivors who choosing to go public actually probably made my diagnosis possible," said Cox.
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