Expert Author Mary Bodel
He was a weekend hiker and he took his health seriously. He'd had every noninvasive test to make sure his heart was fine. After all, his father did die of a heart attack at a relatively young age.
He came back from a hike with a strange look on his face. It had been a blistering hot day and he thought the pain he felt in the center of his chest was irritation from rapid breathing in such weather.
It didn't go away. In fact, it got worse. It got so he had to pause on his way up the stairs to catch his breath. He also had to pause more than once just to get from his car to his office. It was time to see the doctor.
The doctor couldn't find anything wrong, but just to be safe he was referred to a cardiologist. The cardiologist didn't see anything, either. To be safe he was instructed to have an angiogram.
Apparently this did not scare him. It scared the rest of the family, especially those with enough medical knowledge to know exactly what was to be done. He just wanted to get it over with, especially since everyone was walking on eggshells... eggshells he didn't think were necessary.
The family was right to be afraid. Three arteries were blocked almost completely. 76, 93 and 98%. The pain came from the one artery doing all the work for the other three. He had angioplasty and three stents inserted into his coronary arteries.
A lot of changes happened after this. What the entire family ate changed. Exercise during the week days started. Ways to relieve stress were sought.
It wasn't enough.
At his next checkup he was ordered to have another angiogram and it resulted in another angioplasty. The third checkup requires another stent besides the angioplasty.
Here is the scary part. The doctor was very firm when he visited the patient. The next time there wouldn't be any angioplasty and stents. The next time it would be open heart.
We haven't gotten there yet. We hope we won't have to. However at some point we are going to be more scared than we were with the first angiogram.
Just because you eat right, exercise and have all the tests doesn't mean you won't have heart problems. If you feel the symptoms of heart problems, get to the doctor. It could save your life.