No joke: Last week, comedian Rosie O' Donnell had a serious health scare. Writing on her website August 20, the talk-show host recounted how she had a heart attack the week before, admitting that her kind of heart attack is called "the widow maker" and that she is "lucky to be here."
The star said she started experiencing symptoms on August 14 after helping "an enormous woman" who was struggling to get out of her car. After assisting her, the 50-year-old recalls (in verse), "I had an ache in my chest/both my arms were sore/everything felt bruised/muscular - i thought."
But the pain persisted.
Then, she wrote, "I became nauseous/my skin was clammy/I was very very hot/I threw up/maybe this is a heart attack/I googled womens heart attack symptoms/I had many of them/but really? - I thought - naaaa."
Remembering an ad on TV, the actress popped a Bayer aspirin, and writes, "saved by a tv commercial, literally."
The next day, she saw a cardiologist who took an EKG and told her that her coronary artery was 99% blocked. She then had a stent inserted. Rosie notes that she did not call 911, and that half of all women with heart attacks don't. The star is hardly alone: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. One in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, which adds up to 2,200 deaths a day, according to the CDC.
As the TV personality put it, "Know the symptoms ladies/listen to the voice inside/the one we all so easily ignore/CALL 911."
Other celebrities have made headlines for suffering from heart problems. After having quadruple bypass surgery, former President Bill Clinton received two stents in a coronary artery after complaining of chest pain in 2011. Actor Kelsey Grammer suffered a minor heart attack in 2008 while paddle boarding in Hawaii. And "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek suffered a minor heart attack at the age of 67.