Tag Archives: Lexington Medical Heart Center

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.”

Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler

Nearly 1,300 women participated in the 16th annual Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler on Saturday, April 22 in Columbia. About 1/4 of them were Lexington Medical Center employees showing their commitment to a healthy lifestyle and raising awareness that heart disease is the #1 killer of women.

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We’re so pleased that WIS-TV partners with us for this wonderful event. Sports anchor Rick Henry was broadcasting live from the Finish line.

 

Our first runner came across in just over 30 minutes! That’s a six-minute-mile pace. Here’s her interview with Rick Henry.

 

Save the date for next year’s race! April 21, 2018. We’ll see you at the start line!
LexMed.com/Heart
#JustSayKnow

“The Widow-Maker”

Celebrity trainer Bob Harper recently suffered a type of heart attack called “the widow-maker.” He talked about it on The Today Show this week in this interview.

 

Dr. Brandon Drafts

So, what’s a “widow-maker?” And how does someone so passionate about health and fitness have a heart attack? We asked Dr. Brandon Drafts, cardiologist with Lexington Cardiology at Lexington Medical Center.

Q: What’s “the widow-maker?”
A: The “widow-maker” is a term used to describe a heart attack that occurs in the proximal portion of the left anterior descending (LAD) artery. The disease process or the sequence of events that leads to a heart attack is the same, but the location of the “widow-maker” is critical because of the large territory of heart muscle that is at risk, which could lead to cardiac arrest. It’s important to know that any heart attack can potentially be fatal, but the location of the “widow-maker” is very high risk.

Q: Bob Harper was a health and fitness fanatic, but also had a family history of heart disease. Are genetics alone enough to cause a heart attack, even if you’re healthy?
A: Yes, it’s possible that genetics can be the major factor leading to a heart attack. It’s uncommon, but we do see either severe heart disease or heart attacks that occur in very active people or even competitive athletes like marathon runners.

Genetics are complex, but basically involve deficiencies or mutations of certain genes that cause the coronary arteries to be more susceptible to the fatty plaque build-up that obstructs blood flow or can cause a sudden heart attack. Genetics can also refer to cardiac risk factors such as high cholesterol or diabetes that can be very difficult to control despite medical therapy.

So, it’s important to get established with a doctor who can monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight over time.

Learn more about cardiovascular services at Lexington Medical Center by visiting LexMed.com/Heart.