TODAY   |  October 25, 2012

Rosie reveals her heart attack mistakes to Dr. Oz

Dr. Mehmet Oz chats with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie about his interview with Rosie O’Donnell, in which the actress and comedian opened up about her heart attack this summer, and discusses the signs of heart attacks in women.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a few months ago, rosie o 'donnell told the world she was lucky to be alive after she suffered a heart attack . she recently sat down with dr. oz and opened up about that health scare.

>> i found out what was happening to women all over the country. i was like, well, i'm going to find the other celebrity women who have had heart attacks and we're going to get together and form the heart attack save women club. and i'm googling and i'm like how come there's no women that had heart attacks . i don't know if i am, i guess i'm the only one who wants to talk about it.

>> dr. oz is with us this morning to talk about it. good to see you.

>> good morning.

>> you say rosie is kind of becoming the face of heart disease . did it need an advocate? somebody out there talking about it?

>> it needs a face. there is -- and rosie 's correct, no one to step forward who is really well known who can personify it. it's an iconic moment because we give the illness that takes more female lives than any other a face. rosie will be identified as the person who symbolizes what this means. and when you find yourself in her story, it's one of th most soulful interviews. she's so clear about the mistakes she made.

>> that's what the real take away from this is. in fact, we have another portion of the interview to play. when she talks about the mistakes she made. let's listen.

>> i did not call 911, and i should have. and i've come to find out that 50% of women while having heart attacks and suspecting they're having heart attacks do not call 911. and it was the stupidest decision i ever made in my life.

>> do a lot of women ignore the symptoms? and is that something that you see mostly in women ? or everybody in the circumstance?

>> specific to women really. women don't put themselves first. they put their kids first, their husband, their work, everyone comes before them. but in addition to the heart disease , it's an additional problem. it's not onhe radar screen. rosie 's a young woman , when she had the symptoms, they were so classic, how did she miss them? when a woman dies in america, one of the first places we look as a cause is inside their stomach. you know what we're looking for? we're looking for pepto bismol . maybe they thought it was indigestion but they were having a massive heart attack . she could've died, she probably should've died, it's a miracle.

>> the smartest thing she did was take an aspirin, right?

>> and please remember, if you think you're having a heart attack , don't just take the aspirin, do what rosie did, chew the aspirin, and anyone over the age of 40 ought to be on aspirin anyway. but if you're not going to take it, keep it near you.

>> we've got less than a minute to run through the symptoms. chest pain , a classic sign, but women may not experience it in their chest.

>> men get that vice-like feeling, women will get pains in their arms and neck. don't get fooled, if it does not get better over a few minutes, it's getting worse, might be a heart attack .

>> nausea and indigestion.

>> that's why we look at women 's stomachs for pepto bismol , you have to assume it's a heart attack .

>> shortness o breath for obvious reasons this is a particularly dangerous sign.

>> the most important of all because it means the blood's backing up in your lungs, they can't work anymore, you've got to get the water out of them. only the heart can do that. that shortness of breath, if it occurs, activity that didn't use to bother you, big deal .

>> fatigue and doeizziness.

>> when it doesn't get better when you relax, that worries me. these are five symptoms, if you have two or three, you have to assume it's your heart. tell them you might be having a heart attack , that way you will not get ignored.

>> it's a good interview, rosie talks about changes she's making in her life, as well, and it airs today on the "dr. oz show."