Six weeks ago, Lee Atwell felt tightness in his chest. So the 76 year old visited a Gulfport cardiology clinic. "The doctor put me on a treadmill," Atwell said. "And that's when I had the heart attack."
Atwell is now in rehab three days a week. He's rebuilding strength in his damaged heart. Atwell has several friends who've had bypass surgeries. That's why he said he "was very thankful that they just put a stent in. That was a piece of cake."
Dr. Manoj Shah works at the Coast Cardiology Center. "If you have a strong family history of coronary artery disease, then you should be screened as soon as you can," Dr. Shah said.
I actually fit the description of somebody in his 30s who has neglected his body. Heart problems run in my family. Yet because I haven't been sick in years, I've stayed away from the doctor's office. Darryl Kile's death convinced me it was time to have a stress test.
The test started with a check of my blood pressure. It was 150 over 98 -- much higher than it should be.
Next, I walked on a treadmill. Dr. Shah watched my EKG on a computer screen. I made it through the 11 minute test without feeling any pain. The doctor said that was a good sign.
A blood test also came back with good news. My cholesterol level was 175. It wasn't a problem.
The cardiology center did the tests so you could see just how important a heart check up is. Just ask Lee Atwell, a recent heart attack victim. Atwell said he wasn't really surprised he suffered a heart attack, "because I've never taken care of myself."
But now he is taking care of himself. And that's helping his heart get stronger.
Here are three things cardiologists say you should do to help prevent heart trouble:
- You should exercise regularly.
- Stay away from smoking.
- And keep your cholesterol level down.
Again, if you have a family history of heart disease like Darryl Kile did, you need to have your heart checked before it's too late.
by Brad Kessie
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