1. john_v's Avatar
    I just want to put this out there to maybe help save someone’s life.

    I wasn’t blessed in the genetic lottery. Both of my parents died young from heart-related issues. Being married with three boys, it was a wake-up call to me a few years ago to watch my mom slowly go downhill and pass away. I started exercising somewhat regularly/consistently, trying to eat better, even had a sleep study done and got sleep apnea treated. My health seemed to be holding steady.

    I had been jogging somewhat regularly, but last summer 2016 I really got into it and started training for a half-marathon. I ran all summer using a training program, and on October 1st, I finished my first half marathon in just under three hours. I was thrilled and excited to have accomplished that. Because I had been able to do that without any signs of cardiac distress, I felt that my heart had to be in pretty good shape. I visited my doctor regularly, strictly followed his advice on controlling my high blood pressure, followed his advice as we worked to attempt to control high cholesterol through diet and exercise, although I still struggled with weight loss.

    Earlier this year I saw an advertisement for a $49 heart CT scan through Advocate Health Care, which is the medical group I’m in. I figured that for $49, it would give me some peace of mind to know everything was ok, and if there was something wrong we could nip it in the bud. It was a few weeks before I could get in due to work schedule and their scheduling. In that time, I began to notice some slight left shoulder discomfort that would come and go. I talked to my dr about it, even went in and had him check me out, but we came to a mutual conclusion that if I could go run a couple miles without obvious signs of cardiac distress, it was probably muscular and not cardiac related.

    Fast forward to this past week. I went in on Tuesday for my CT scan. It went quickly, the technician was great, and I went on my merry way. However, later that afternoon, my doctor called and said “I would like to see you in the office this afternoon” - and it wasn’t optional.

    It turned out I had very high calcium scoring, which opens the door for a high possibility of atherosclerosis (heart disease) and/or blocked arteries. We scheduled a cardiologist visit for two days later, and my doctor said go home and take it easy until you see the cardiologist.

    The next day I began to notice the left shoulder discomfort again, and it was more persistent than usual. Finally in the afternoon I called my doctor and he said to go straight to the ER and get it checked.

    To make a long story somewhat shorter, I spent a couple nights in the hospital, during which time I had an echocardiogram stress test which revealed an abnormality in my heart function during exercise. This led to an angiogram which revealed an 80% blockage in my LAD artery. I now have a stent, and am feeling much better. I was fortunate in that I didn't actually have a heart attack - but successfully prevented one, as it was only a matter of time.

    Now reading all that, you might think I'm some old fart. But I'm not.

    I share all this because I’m only 39.

    I heard repeatedly this week from the doctors about how “young people don’t usually take heart matters this seriously”. So my reason for sharing this is to encourage people my age - if you have a bad family history of heart disease or other issues, get checked out - work with your doctor. It's worth it. Don’t become part of the statistics. I’m glad I went for the scan - I want to be around to see my kids graduate, get married, and hopefully make me a grandfather one day (don’t tell my wife I wrote that - she freaks out enough about our oldest getting ready to drive!!).

    The  that saved my life-finish.jpg
    04-01-17 11:28 AM
  2. BigBadWulf's Avatar
    Finish indeed! You keep finishing bud
    04-01-17 11:38 AM
  3. howarmat's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing. It is a wake up call to us all! And get well soon.
    04-01-17 11:41 AM
  4. mrfreeze's Avatar
    Thank you for sharing!
    04-01-17 11:50 AM
  5. misterabrasive's Avatar
    I'm glad you keep on top of your health issues, John. Genetics play a very important part in your own health as you well know. Hopefully this will inspire others to at least get a check up. Good job, buddy!
    john_v likes this.
    04-01-17 02:37 PM
  6. Guytronic's Avatar
    Thanx so much for posting this John.
    Your words are the small push I need.
    Hang in there kiddo!
    john_v likes this.
    04-01-17 02:45 PM
  7. falbo's Avatar
    Good luck John and thanks for posting. None of us know what's around the corner so it's always wise not to just ignore any aches and pains etc. Thanks for sharing.
    04-01-17 03:37 PM
  8. gebco's Avatar
    Good for you for taking care of yourself. One of my staff members had a heart attack at age 40. Ever since he has followed a strict diet and exercise regime.
    Don't stop running. Be sure to clear it with your doctor. The running community is a very supportive one, especially since we're all really running against ourselves. I was a runner in high school and stopped in my 30s when I had kids. I took it up again at age 49 and haven't stopped. Today however I didn't feel like getting out there to do my Sunday jog. Your post inspired me.
    john_v and MB64 like this.
    04-02-17 11:51 AM
  9. MB64's Avatar
    Excellent news and glad all is well!! Thanks for sharing!!
    john_v likes this.
    04-02-17 02:08 PM
  10. BerryRipe's Avatar
    Congratulations! Man I'm 39 also with HBP....thanks for the write up.

    Posted via CB10
    john_v likes this.
    04-02-17 03:16 PM
  11. MB64's Avatar
    Good for you for taking care of yourself. One of my staff members had a heart attack at age 40. Ever since he has followed a strict diet and exercise regime.
    Don't stop running. Be sure to clear it with your doctor. The running community is a very supportive one, especially since we're all really running against ourselves. I was a runner in high school and stopped in my 30s when I had kids. I took it up again at age 49 and haven't stopped. Today however I didn't feel like getting out there to do my Sunday jog. Your post inspired me.
    It's funny you say that. I started slowing down from working out after my son was born. So of course I blame him....
    Last edited by MB64; 04-02-17 at 04:25 PM.
    john_v likes this.
    04-02-17 03:52 PM
  12. gebco's Avatar
    It's funny you say that. I started slowing down from working after my son was born. So of course I blame him....
    I ran marathons until my kids were born. The time required for training is too much a price on family life. Now that I'm near semi-retirement I may take up the full again. Having kids just means you have to reduce the time you put in to the workouts but it doesn't mean you don't work out. Gotta stay healthy to be there for them!
    john_v likes this.
    04-02-17 04:14 PM
  13. MB64's Avatar
    I stay fit with my job. Believe it or not, a lot of walking (easily more than 5 miles a day), up and down ladders and other physical activities through out the day.
    04-02-17 04:26 PM
  14. middbrew's Avatar
    Nice write up. Congrats on the marathon and congrats on getting a jump on saving your heart.
    john_v likes this.
    04-03-17 09:05 AM
  15. john_v's Avatar
    04-06-17 11:27 AM
  16. iamci's Avatar
    Awesome. Thanks for sharing and caring

    Posted via CB10
    04-10-17 11:37 PM
  17. BigBadWulf's Avatar
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/w...your-life.html

    Appears you're gaining more life than you're using.
    john_v likes this.
    04-12-17 07:37 AM
  18. Prem WatsApp's Avatar
    Thank you for sharing!
    +1 ... :-)

    Shtuff happens to younger and younger people...

    •   THISone, with the keys, hopefully coming soon to a phone store down unda... :-D   •
    04-12-17 07:50 PM
  19. john_v's Avatar
    +1 ... :-)

    Shtuff happens to younger and younger people...

    •   THISone, with the keys, hopefully coming soon to a phone store down unda... :-D   •
    Or are you getting older and older...
    MB64 likes this.
    04-12-17 09:43 PM
  20. FF22's Avatar
    Glad you caught this in time.
    john_v likes this.
    05-09-17 01:27 PM
  21. john_v's Avatar
    Just an update on the saga that continues...this week I had a couple of episodes of exercise/exertion induced chest tightness. Was able to get in to see the cardiologist and he has me scheduled for another angiogram on Tuesday (5-16). He's worried about a couple of blockages that seemed minor on the imaging, but may actually be something that needs stenting.
    05-14-17 08:36 AM
  22. misterabrasive's Avatar
    Just an update on the saga that continues...this week I had a couple of episodes of exercise/exertion induced chest tightness. Was able to get in to see the cardiologist and he has me scheduled for another angiogram on Tuesday (5-16). He's worried about a couple of blockages that seemed minor on the imaging, but may actually be something that needs stenting.
    Glad you're staying on top of it, John
    05-17-17 09:45 PM

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