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Young Women Are Dying From a Little-known Heart Attack




Oct. 25, 2021 — Michele DeMarco, 33 years old, woke up on Saturday morning with what felt to be an elephant on her chest. Although she didn’t feel well the night prior, she tried to not worry. She was healthy, fit, and young.
She couldn’t walk by Monday. After 45 minutes in the emergency room, she was told by doctors that she was suffering from panic attacks. After tests revealed she had suffered a heart attack and she was admitted to the emergency department, multiple drug tests were performed. Although she had never tried other substances than wine, they could not find any other explanation for a woman her own age suffering from a serious heart attack.
“They thought that I was addicted to cocaine.” DeMarco, now 47 years old, recalls that they didn’t know what to make of it. “They gave me about 11 medicines and released me on a promise and a payer.”

DeMarco was suffering from spontaneous coronary arterial dissection (or SCAD), which can be fatal. This is a potentially fatal tear that forms in a blood vessel within the heart.
This condition can cause a slowing or blocking of blood flow to the heart. It can lead to sudden death, abnormal heart rhythms, and heart attacks.
Regular heart attacks, unlike SCAD, are often caused by plaque buildup or blood clot.
People with SCAD, like DeMarco are often young women who don’t have any previous risk factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol.
DeMarco suffered two more SCAD heart attacks. One occurred just days after the other. Ten years later, DeMarco had another heart attack — almost exactly the same day.
SCAD patients are often dismissed by health care professionals, according to Sharonne N. Hayes MD, director of Mayo’s SCAD Research Program. It can happen to anyone of any sex or age, but it is more common for women aged 30-60.
Patients may experience symptoms similar to a regular heart attack. These include chest pressure, pain and shortness of breathe. Hayes states that it is different depending on who is having it. “We don’t expect a 22 year-old to have symptoms of heart attack.”

Hayes recalled a video chat she had with a patient. A Black woman in her 30s called 911 after suffering severe heart attacks symptoms. The first responders insisted that it wasn’t a heart attack and fled the scene.
Three hours later, her husband drove her to the hospital. A series of tests revealed that she had SCAD.
There is very little information available about the condition of women, particularly those of color, because the health care system is often neglecting their health.
Hayes stated that women were excluded from clinical trials 20-30 years ago. “There are many conditions that affect women for which we have far fewer treatments and answers. It’s easy to dismiss it if professionals don’t get it.
Although SCAD is only a small cause of heart attacks, it is responsible in more than 35% for heart attacks in women under 50 years old, according to research by the American Heart Association. SCAD patients average around 42 years old.
Risk factors include:
Recent childbirth
There are several conditions that underlie blood vessel conditions, including fibromuscular dysplasia. This causes irregular growth of cells within the artery walls.
Hereditary connective tissues diseases such as vascular Ehlers Danlos syndrome and Marfan Syndrome can be caused by hereditary factors.
High blood pressure
Researchers have discovered that SCAD is more common than previously thought. Deepak Bhatt MD, executive director of interventional cardiology programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, said that SCAD has become more common in recent years. He says that past cases of SCAD were likely due to regular heart attacks, but it has been underdiagnosed and underrecognized.
Bhatt states that it is important to distinguish SCAD heart attacks from other types. Patients will usually have a balloon or stent inserted to open their arteries in the event of a common heart attack. SCAD patients can have the artery snagged and even ripped.
You can also take daily aspirin and blood pressure medication to lower the heart’s blood demand.
Bhatt said that there is not much randomized research on the topic. It is therefore mostly observational.
Hayes encourages anyone who may be suffering from SCAD, especially young women, to speak out in health care settings for themselves, even if doctors are reluctant to listen.
“Say loudly, ‘These symptoms are heart attack symptoms. Hayes suggests that they might give exceptional care right away, but if they don’t, they may grudgingly test your condition further.” “Speak up and refuse to leave if you are about to be dismissed without any workup.”

WebMD Health News

Michele DeMarco.
Sharonne N. Hayes, MD, director, SCAD Research Program, Mayo Clinic.
Deepak Bhatt MD, executive director, Interventional Cardiovascular Programs, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston.

(C) 2021 WebMD LLC. All rights reserved.

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New GR Pharmacy to Serve Spanish-speaking Patients




GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — By the end of the year, Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood will have a new pharmacy.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria began construction Monday morning on the $1.5 million project. The new pharmacy will include both walk-up and drive-thru services.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria practice leader Kameron Selleck it will offer convenience in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a pharmacy close in proximity, making it challenging for patients to get their prescriptions in a timely manner.

“A lot of our patients do encounter a lot of social barriers in their lives,” Selleck said.

He added that a language barrier can make it difficult patients to get their prescriptions. He said nearly every employee at Clinica Santa Maria is bilingual in Spanish and the plan is for that trend to carry over to new pharmacy and pharmacy tech hires.

“I think this project was announced almost five years ago, so it’s here,” Selleck said. “I just really encourage the community to be as excited as we are.

The pharmacy is at 730 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW (formerly Grandville Avenue) at Martin Luther King Jr. Street (formerly Franklin Street) in Grand Rapids. It will be the seventh Trinity Health pharmacy in the Grand Rapids area, with the other locations being Cathedral Square, the Wege Building at Trinity Heath Saint Mary’s, Hudsonville, Rockford, Byron Center and Southeast Grand Rapids.

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Tulip Time Crowds Encouraging for Returning Festivals




HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Tulip Time saw big crowds this year as it returned to a more regular schedule.

The event was cancelled in 2020 and scaled back last year because of the pandemic.

Hot temperatures caused damage to some of Holland’s tulips, Tulip Time organizers say.

The heat caused challenges for the 2022 festival. The Tulip Immersion Garden, a new attraction, had to close early because the hot temperatures caused too much damage to the flowers, Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda said.

“They don’t like 80 degree, 90 degree weather. Tulips prefer it to be about 40 at night, 60 to 70, maybe 80 during the day,” Auwerda said.

Heat closes down Tulip Time Immersion Garden early

The organization is working on final numbers but saw attendance return to pre-pandemic levels.

“I do know that the carnival exceeded 2019 by 25 to 30%, so that was fabulous for them and it was packed everywhere in town,” Auwerda said.

Kevin Knight, the owner of Market Zero, said the festival definitely provided a boost as they worked to keep up with demand. 

“It’s a huge kick off to your summer season,” Knight said. “Our fridges were completely full and got completely empty and completely full and completely empty, so it was about everything we could handle.”

Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022. Inside Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022.

The return of crowds could be good sign for other events coming back this summer, like the Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids. Mark Azkoul, an organizer for the event that began in 1970, sees the success of Tulip Time as encouraging.

Tulip Time has record-breaking opening weekend

“We’ve been out for two years so this is a big thing for us and for the city to get Festival back up and going,” Azkoul said.

Organizers created the Plein Air event for 2021, which combined outdoor art and music.

The 2022 event runs June 3 through June 5. After taking a break because of the pandemic the festival needs extra help.    

“A lot of people still don’t know yet festival is coming back, so we really want to get the word out. We need more volunteers,” Azkoul said.

People interested in volunteering can sign up on the Festival of the Arts website.


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Mom Does ‘small Part’ to Help Parents Who Need Formula




HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Though there appears to an end of the baby formula shortage in sight, it’s still causing problems for parents, so a mother in Holland did what she could to help.

Abbott Nutrition has announced its entered into an agreement with the federal Food and Drug Administration to restart its Sturgis plant within two weeks. The closure of that plant has been a huge contributing factor to the shortage. The company expects its products to ship to stores eight weeks after production resumes.

But for now, many parents can’t find the formula they need. The low supply has some stores limiting the number of formulas customers can purchase, adding that they are in “extraordinary high” demand.

The baby formula shelves at a Meijer in Holland.

So Caitlin Dampier, a mother of two whose youngest is a 3-month-old girl, stepped up to help where she could.

“I really wish I could help out more, but this is just my small part,” Dampier said.

She got a box of Enfamil formulas that she’s not using because she’s breastfeeding.

“When you’re pregnant, you get free samples and so I thought I would just offer mine for free for mothers who need them,” Dampier said. “I kept it around in case I wasn’t able to breastfeed.”

5 things to know if you can’t find baby formula

Dampier made a post on Facebook this week directed at parents who can’t find formula. The box she received included three cans of Enfamil formulas and two ready-made formulas.

Two mothers reached out to her, including Kourtney Hann, another Holland resident. She’s one of thousands of mothers across the country who have had to go to great lengths to find food for their baby.

“I have had to go to stores maybe 45 minutes away just to even try to get formula,” she said. “It’s very hard to find them where I’m at right now. I went to Walmart yesterday and all they had was Similac and my daughter has a really bad reaction to Similac.”

Hann was able to connect with Dampier and picked up a can of Enfamil. Dampier left the box on her front porch with the message, “Please take only the formula you chose and tear out some coupons for yourself. My prayers are with you during this difficult time.”

The box of Enfamil products Caitlin Dampier left at her door for mothers to pick up.

Hann said she was down to her last can of baby formula which lasts her about five days. Now that she has received another can from Dampier, she’ll be able to feed her 9-month-old for the next two weeks.

“Being a mom is hard enough as it is. You have so many other struggles and to be afraid to know if you’re going to be able to feed your baby or not is a struggle,” Dampier said. “You want to do everything for your kids so when you’re not able to it’s hard. It’s just the worst feeling in the world.”


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