Medical Update: Signs and symptoms of a heart attack
Feb 21, 2013 at 8:57 PM CST
Feb 21, 2013
February is American Heart Month, a time when you are encouraged to take care of your heart. It’s often difficult to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, and know where to go for help. Pete Gallegos never suspected he would need not one, but two open heart surgeries to save his life. "I didn't believe it. I've never been sick in my life." Pete was planning a trip to Wyoming back in 1999, and needed a physical before he left. It was after that physical he got shocking news. "Ricardo told me Pete, you're not going anywhere, I said excuse me, he says you're not going to Wyoming, there's a problem but I don't know what." Pete was then given some shocking news that would change his life forever.
"You're gonna have to have surgery, open heart, so if you want to get a second opinion or talk to your family, do it."
One day later he was admitted for surgery, which turned out to be a big success. But years later in 2006, he would find himself back in Dr. Arthur Santos' office.
"He says Pete we have another little problem. I said no doctor, he says yes, your artery on the left side is like, plugging up."
Pete says he had no symptoms of heart disease, and considered himself a workaholic, working 12 hours a day, 77 days a week. Something a local family practitioner, Doctor Oscar Perez says is common in men. He also says the symptoms are sometimes very subtle.
"Leading up to a heart attack one of the most disregarded symptoms by men is shortness of breath." "And it's incredible how many men will kid themselves, just deny it, go right into denial... you know, the week before they were able to climb 10 flights of stairs, this week they can't." Although heart disease is often considered a silent killer, Dr. Perez says men in general tend to ignore any signs of illness.
"There are some schools of thought that suggest that men tend to gear themselves more toward the machismo part of the show... and also a bit of a component of denial. So we're invincible, we're not gonna accept there's something wrong with us." More than six years after his last surgery, Pete says he's changed his lifestyle and he feels great! "I just saw my doctor Santos last week, 8 days ago, and he told me, I don't know what you're doing guy, but whatever you're doing just keep on doing it." Next week we'll hear from a local doctor on how he says LMC works to save hearts every day.