They say time is money, but time is also muscle. If you have a heart attack and don't call 911 immediately after experience symptoms you could damage your heart muscle significantly. Nancy Naeve Brown has more on a Sioux Falls man who wasted no time getting help when he got extremely short of breath.
When we met up Jerry Miller from Sioux Falls he was half-way through cardiac rehab at the Avera Heart Hospital. According to North Central Cardiologist Dr. Christopher Paa, Jerry Miller isn't like most men with heart disease. After some urging from his wife, Jerry actually went to the doctor when he started feeling off.
Jerry says, "It got to be I had such tightness in the chest. I quit (what I was doing) and went inside. I started talking to my wife and said I may have to go to the doctor to check this out in a week. She said no, we are going now. So I went to my doctor and the next day I ended up here."
Dr. Paa says, "Probably the most common thing we see among male patients is denial of symptoms and will delay their medical care. They don't want to admit they are having a heart attack or symptoms of a heart attack."
Jerry says, "It wasn't pain, just tightness, a shortness of breath. I thought I had pneumonia. What do I know?"
Just like people, no two are exactly the same. The same could be said about symptoms of a heart attack. They vary from person to person too. No two people will have exactly the same symptoms.
Dr. Paa says, "Most commonly people will describe it as pressure sensation in the chest in the center of left side. Sometimes it radiates to the shoulder or jaw, shortness of breath, occasionally a cold sweat associated it. Many will suggest they have an overwhelming sense of urgency, impending doom. They know something was wrong."
Jerry says, "I figure I was pretty lucky to find it when I did before it did any damage. I had no damage to my heart."
Jerry ended up having 2 stents put in during a procedure at the Avera Heart Hospital. One opened a coronary artery that was 99% blocked. The other one opened the subclavian artery in his right chest.
Jerry laughs and says, "I feel great. I didn't know I was sick until I got better."
Denial is a heart attacks best friend. Thank God, no friend of Jerry's.
The Avera Heart Hospital offers Planet Heart, a heart screening for $50, plus vascular screenings for $50 or you can get both for a bargain $75. It's recommended men ages 40 and up get this done, especially if heart disease runs in your family.
For more information: http://www.avera.org/heart-hospital/screenings-events/index.aspx or call 877-AT-AVERA to make an appointment.