Women's Heart Health: Spokane mom suffers heart attack while getting son ready for school

Think of the three women closest to you. Maybe it's your sister, your mom and your best friend. Now think that of those three, one will die because of heart disease. It's the gut wrenching reality that many don't want to think about or talk about. KHQ wants to start the conversation about women's heart health, because it very well could impact someone you love very much.

Spokane wife and mother Casey Bantz never thought she'd be the victim of a heart attack. The morning it happened, that possibility couldn't have been further from her mind.

"It was normal day," said Casey Bantz. "I was getting for work. My son was watching cartoons."

All it takes is a second for life as we know it to end.

"It was not something I ever planned for," she said. "I'm thankful every day that my wife had to come home."

Bantz thought she was doing everything right.

"It hit me like a ton of bricks," she said. "I'm 35-years-old, I exercise every day. I'm doing everything they tell you do."

But it wasn't enough.

"I was in so much pain, I don't remember much of the ambulance ride," she said. "But I know, at no point did I think, I'm having a heart attack."

Especially because of her symptoms.

"I started experiencing the worst heartburn you could ever imagine," she said.

Spokane Cardiologist Deirdra Mooney said women are often confused or even blindsided by the signs of trouble.

"They're more likely to have atypical or indigestion or just feeling unwell," she said. "They lose their appetite just have a feeling something is wrong."

The typical symptoms you see in men may never appear in a woman. That's why they can be so deadly. Many women don't think they are having a heart attack, so they may wait longer to seek the help they need.

That's a big reason why Bantz is sharing her story, to raise awareness.

"You don't have to meet the typical guidelines of what a heart attack victim looks like, it looks like every person walking around," she said.

Heart attacks and strokes kill one woman every 80 seconds.

"You don't have to be 60 plus to have these kinds of symptoms," Bantz said. "I feel so thankful to be alive."

So what can you do to decrease your chances of being a victim? Get out there are exercise, stop smoking, and eat heart healthy foods.

"Super foods are really beneficial to our health," said Registered Dietitian, Korrin Fotheringham. "They have an incredible amount of nutrients for how much you have to eat."

Some of the best foods you can add to your cart are sprouts, nuts, berries and kale.

"They have extra vitamins and minerals that are really beneficial for our overall health," she said.

Recommended for you