There is no doubt that women today are under more stress than ever. One of the “gifts” left to us by the women’s liberation movement is that we not only get to fry-the-bacon-up-in-a-pan at night, but we are also frequently out there in the workforce bringing-home-the-bacon as well.
Add to that the demands of children, homework, soccer practice, PTA, church and other civic activities, our cup truly RUNS over! Super Girl has nothing on us! It’s no wonder that heart disease is the number one killer of women. Sisters, we have STRESS in our lives!
Just how bad our stress level really is was recently brought home in a very real way to me. One of my best girlfriends just had the “pleasure” of a one-night stay at the local heart “hotel” (hospital). This definitely wasn’t her destination when she left for work that morning. She’s a single-parent of two small preschool children. She’s a widow and has no backup at home. (Are we getting the stress level picture yet?) In addition, she works for a company that’s been laying off workers for months and outsourcing jobs overseas. She’s been working 70-80 hour work weeks for months in an effort to ensure her job stays in the good old USA. (Bingo! Stress level gets a 120%!)
As she recalls it, her chest began pounding and hurting unbearably. She was short of breath and couldn’t breathe - sick to her stomach, sweating, dizzy and lightheaded. The pain radiated down her left arm. She tried to ignore it for a while but as the day progressed, the symptoms only increased in intensity. Finally, she phoned the nurse on call with her insurance company who promptly sent her straight to the hospital for evaluation.
Fortunately, this hospital visit had a happy ending. She was diagnosed with a panic or anxiety attack. Some of the symptoms of a panic attack are similar to those of a heart attack. Panic attack symptoms include: chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, hyperventilation (very rapid breathing), and dizziness/faintness. In addition, a panic attack may also be accompanied by a sense of fear or impending disaster.