Friday, January 14, 2011
Medical Reports: Young at Heart
Most people under 50 or 60 don't give much thought to having a heart attack, but doctors say they're seeing an increase in the number of younger patients winding up in local emergency rooms. Are you at risk? 7's Richard Lemus has more on how to stay 'Young at Heart.'
WSVN -- Jared was only 42 years old when it hit.
Jared Fichtelberg, Heart Attack Victim: "It's dramatic, just like you see in the movies where the guy grabs his chest and collapses on the floor. That's exactly what happened."
He was sitting at home when the pain hit. He knew but couldn't believe he was having a heart attack.
Jared Fichtelberg: "I was just floored. I was blown away. I couldn't believe it."
Dr. Juan Pastor says he's seeing younger and younger heart attack patients in the emergency room.
Dr. Juan Pastor-Cervantes, Memorial Regional Hospital: "Yes, we have seen a trend, and I think that is related to the epidemic we have in obesity, sedentary lifestyle and diabetes."
Dr. Pastor says part of the problem: people in their 20s, 30s and 40s don't think they can be at risk, so they ignore risk factors, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and being overweight. He also says most young people don't even know the symptoms of a heart attack.
Dr. Juan Pastor-Cervantes: "If you have chest tightness, chest pressure, shortness of breath and you feel lightheaded, you should call an ambulance."
Jared is a classic example. Despite his strong family history of heart problems, his mother has heart disease, he led a lifestyle that put him at high risk.
Jared Fichtelberg: "I'm not thin, I was a diabetic, I smoked, I had all the risk factors, but I just shrugged it off."
And it almost cost him his life.
Doctor: "That's a blockage right there."
Jared had several major blockages and needed open heart surgery. Today, he is still recovering. He changed his diet and quit smoking. He even started a Facebook page called "Young Heart Attack Survivors" and encourages everyone to get their check-ups and never to ignore the symptoms.
Jared Fichtelberg: "You need to listen to your body. You need to follow up with your doctors, and if you smoke, you just got to quit."
Richard Lemus: "Nausea, vomiting and neck or back discomfort can also be signs of a heart attack, so if something doesn't seem right, get help right away."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute
Tel: (954) 265-5824
or visit the Memorial Healthcare System website at http://www.mhs.net/