Tag Archives: high blood pressure

Father’s Heart Attack Is A Wake-up Call

In March, things turned upside down for Paul Shealy.

It was 4:30 a.m., and he was wide awake. Something about his heart just wasn’t right.

After a few regular beats, his heart felt like it paused–and then it began beating really hard, “like it was trying to start over,” Paul said. “I didn’t feel pain, and I wasn’t nervous, but I knew it was wrong.”

Paul Shealy, his wife Heather and their three children: Connor; 13; Braydon, 11; and Trisleigh, 7.

Paul walked around his house and got a drink of water, trying to work it out. After about 30 minutes, he woke up his wife and told her they should call an ambulance.

Paul was just 42 years old. He’s married to his high school sweetheart and they have three young children.

Paul had no family history of heart disease. But just a few months earlier, he had consulted with a doctor who urged him to quit using smokeless tobacco and to start taking medicine to control his high blood pressure. Paul took the medicine—at first.

“The side effects made me feel awful,” he said. “I’d go back to the doctor to have the medication adjusted, but after awhile I felt like I couldn’t go to the doctor again and say, ‘I need you to fix this medicine.’”

Paul did stop using smokeless tobacco, thinking that would be enough to improve his blood pressure.

After several check ups, Paul stopped seeing the doctor and stopped taking the medicine. He thought he had done enough to improve his blood pressure by quitting smokeless tobacco.

Paul isn’t alone. About one in three American adults has high blood pressure. Chronic high blood pressure – also called hypertension — can damage the heart and arteries. Nearly half of Americans with high blood pressure don’t have it under control.

Dr. Mitchell Jacocks

“Unfortunately, hypertension doesn’t cause symptoms, and sometimes the treatment can produce side effects and make patients question whether it’s worthwhile to take the medication they’re prescribed to control it,” said Mitchell W. Jacocks, MD, of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice.

“Paul felt fine, and at his age, he probably felt like ‘nothing can happen to me.’ It’s a common misconception and unfortunately, can lead to dire consequences,” Dr. Jacocks said.

When Paul arrived at Lexington Medical Center’s Emergency department, clinicians confirmed his blood pressure was very high. Medication failed to bring his blood pressure under control, so clinicians admitted him to the hospital where tests confirmed that one of Paul’s arteries was seriously blocked. In the cardiac catheterization lab, doctors with
Lexington Cardiology inserted a stent in the artery to restore the normal flow of blood. Paul stayed in the hospital for five days.

Today, Paul takes a new blood pressure medicine and follows up with Dr. Jacocks regularly.

According to Dr. Jacocks, Paul is now a model patient. “There are few things that motivate a person like a cardiac event. Sometimes it’s the wakeup call people need to get them to take care of themselves,” said Dr. Jacocks.

Looking back, Paul recognizes the warning signs he ignored—when climbing a flight of stairs seemed to take his breath away, or when his wife noticed he was more tired, and how his breathing at night wasn’t right.

Dr. Jacocks said patients often ignore symptoms or put off treatment that could save their lives. “It’s important to listen to your loved ones,” he said. “They may notice something that you may not notice or be denying that could be signs of potential problems.”

“I completely learned my lesson,” Paul said. “It’s my responsibility, as a father, to be here. Now I take responsibility for my own health.”

National Wear Red Day

Are you seeing red today? We are! Lexington Medical Center employees gathered for a group photo inside the hospital today for #NationalWearRedDay. We want our community to “Just Say Know” to heart disease by learning about risk factors.

Risk factors make you more likely to develop a disease. They can also increase the chances that a disease will get worse. The good news is that 80 percent of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented and treated if you learn about your risks and take action to control them.

Risk Factors You Can’t Control
*Age 45 or older (men), age 55 or older (women)
*Family history of early heart disease. If your father or brother had a heart attack before age 45, or if your mother or sister had a heart attack before age 55, you are more likely to develop heart disease.
*History of preeclampsia during pregnancy

Risk Factors You Can Control
*High blood pressure
*High blood cholesterol
*Diabetes and prediabetes
*Smoking
*Being overweight or obese
*Being physically inactive
*Eating an unhealthy diet

Other Risk Factors For Women
*Sleep apnea
*Stress
*Depression
*Too much alcohol
*Birth control pills (especially for women over 35 who smoke)
*Anemia

For more information, visit LexMed.com/Know

#LMCJustSayKnow

A Lifetime of Bad Choices

Bad habits can start early. Being a couch potato, eating poorly, smoking, experiencing stress and not maintaining a healthy weight can all lead to a heart attack over time.

That’s the message of Lexington Medical Center’s 2017 heart commercial. It features scenes in the life of a man as he ages from 23 to 55 engaging in behavior that ultimately leads to a heart attack. Here are some photos from the filming. The commercial will debut on Friday, February 3.

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It’s the latest installment in a series of heart commercials produced in-house by Lexington Medical Center during the month of February, which is American Heart Month. The spot also continues the tradition of featuring a character who personifies a heart attack and narrates the story.

“Don’t make a lifetime of bad choices. Every choice you make matters,” said Mark Shelley, vice president of Marketing and Communications at Lexington Medical Center, who supervised the production of the heart commercial. “You’re never too young to prevent heart disease.”

Lexington Medical Center is committed to educating our community about cardiovascular disease, which is responsible for one out of every three deaths in South Carolina. As the region’s only Duke Health-affiliated heart center, Lexington Medical Center is able to provide patients with quality cardiovascular care, and the most advanced treatments and protocols available in medicine.

To watch all of our heart attack commercials, visit our You Tube channel: www.youtube.com/LexingtonMedical

To learn more about heart disease and take a heart health quiz, visit www.LexMed.com/Know.