I knew one day I’d have to pay attention to my heart health. I just didn’t know that day would come when I was 35.
On a family vacation last July, a trip to the hotel gym set off an alarm. I was on the treadmill for only a few minutes when a sharp pain started radiating down my chest. I immediately stopped and knew something wasn’t right. After resting for a couple minutes, the pain went away.
When I returned home and felt the pain again, I drove to the Emergency Department at Staten Island University Hospital. While initial tests didn’t signal a problem, my family history of heart disease led doctors to suggest a stress test. After I failed that stress test, a subsequent cardiac catheterization revealed a 99 percent blockage in my main artery. A stent was inserted and I was sent home the next day.
It’s been six months since my procedure. While my stent doesn’t prevent me from doing anything I did before, it’s something I think about often. Some days are better than others, but I am grateful for life. It seems more precious now and I have more reason than ever to enjoy every minute of it.
Advice from the Heart
Don’t ignore the signs. If you experience any abnormal pain (chest, arm), no matter your age, consult your doctor. Knowing your family history and your heart-health numbers is your best defense against a cardiac event.
To learn about your risks, use a heart health risk calculator.