How Safe Is Your Heart From Attack?

You may have noticed how much I whined about my hubby and I becoming dreaded Empty Nesters. Well, only two days after abandoning delivering Joshua to his new college dorm room, something happened which made our Empty Nester concerns pale in comparison.

Someone very dear us discovered he needed to have heart surgery, and his story impacted us in a profound way.

It all started a few months ago, when our friend Noah* began noticing his heart racing faster than normal when he ran, a short time later, he began having chest pain. He made an appointment with his regular doc, who did all his blood work and some standard tests.

He’s 49 years old. And his results for blood sugar, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, triglycerides, were all good. His thyroid was fine. He doesn’t smoke, and he’s not obese. His allergies had been flaring up, so the doc suggested that might be the cause and sent him to an allergist. More tests. More good results. But they gave him some allergy medicine and sent him home.

But he was still experiencing chest pain, so his original doc referred him to a cardiologist. This doc ran the standard battery of tests: EKG, stress test (Noah loved bragging about how he scored in the top 85% for his age group!). Again, all good. The cardiologist told him he was fine and sent him home.

NOBODY thought it was his heart.

Except Noah.

He refused to listen to the experts. On his own he "Googled" one of his area’s top local cardiologists and scheduled himself an appointment. When he met with this doctor, even he didn’t think it was Noah’s heart. But he scheduled him for a test called an Electron Beam Computed Tomography (EBCT). It’s a test where they take a three-dimensional, super fast--as in within one heartbeat-- picture of the entire heart and surrounding blood vessels.

It's an extremely accurate test, and it shows everything.

They discovered blockage.

Three days later Noah underwent surgery. (I refuse to call it a procedure! Have you noticed how everything is a “procedure” now? I say, if they’re cutting into your body, it’s surgery! But, I digress.)

The surgeon performed a catheterization which resulted in a stent being placed into one of Noah’s diagonal LAD arteries. Later, the surgeon told him that the vein they put the stent in was 99.9% blocked! He was so close to having a heart attack that it chills me!

I THANK GOD Noah refused to listen to all the experts, choosing to listen to his instincts instead.

Noah had none of the typical risk factors for heart disease, except one. His father had a heart attack in his early forties.

I am shocked at what a significant role heredity plays in our health as opposed to the traditional health issues science usually likes to blame. Both of my parents and my hubby’s father have had bypass surgeries. Noah’s experience was a wake-up call to us. Just because we aren’t experiencing any symptoms at the moment, doesn’t mean we have the slightest clue what is happening within our arteries at this very moment. I have now devoured a book on heart healthy eating habits which we will be practicing from this day forward. And I’ll be blogging about our journey over the some of my next posts.

If you had been in Noah’s shoes, would you have trusted the “experts,” or followed your instincts?

No comments: