SOMERSET, NJ - Tuesday night Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) held their annual "Matters of the Heart" event at the Imperia, and Emmy Award-winning actress and comedian Tracey Conway shared her personal account with over 150 attendees.
The event was held because February is heart awareness month, and cardiac disease is a silent killer of women.
"Listen to your intuition with your body," Conway said. "If you feel something that you have never felt before, and alarm bells are going off. Try to listen to those alarm bells, because women symptoms can be different. Don't just put it off value yourself."
Heart disease is the number one killer of women, and a women's risk for heart disease rises between ages 40 and 60, but can begin as young as their teenage years, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Conway gave her personal account on how she survived after collapsing on stage during a live show from sudden cardiac arrest in 1995. She was performing in a sketch comedy about the ER, and art became real life in an instance.
"The audience laughed when I fell down, because they thought I was kidding around when I dropped," Conway said. "I was down without my own heartbeat for almost 20 minutes."
Conway said a volunteer firefighter was the only one in a crowd of over 100 people that could help her after she collapsed. He performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Conway required six defibrillator shocks to bring her back to life.
She urges women to get routine check ups, because their symptoms can be very different from that of men. "They can manifest as episodes of fainting or almost fainting," Conway said.
During the program, RWJUH physicians instructed attendees on how to reduce their risk of heart disease, identify the symptoms of a heart attack, diagnosis and treatment, and more. Presenters included Subhashini Gowda, MD, electrophysiologist at RWJUH, and Issam Moussa, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Cardiology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Chief of Cardiology at RWJUH.
Conway urge women to visit their local Hospitals and Medical establishments for seminars, support groups and general information about heart disease in their township.
Tracey Conway's book titled Cross My Heart and Hope to Live: Back to Life Lessons from a Cardiac Arrest Survivor has a lot of information on surviving after a heart attack.