LIMA — Sandra Crowe thought she had a cold.
Until she couldn’t catch her breath.
“I had fluid built up around my heart and had a procedure done to help drain the fluid. Doctors told me I had a massive amount of fluid around my heart that was cutting off the circulation to my heart and my breathing,” said Crowe, 51, of St. Marys.
Her husband brought her to Lima Memorial Health System on Jan. 30 after her symptoms worsened so much it was clear she needed help.
Crowe is certainly not alone. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States and the world, and doctors are urging people to know the signs of problems and tips on prevention.
Chris Frick, Lima Memorial Health System physicians assistant for cardiology, said awareness is still an issue.
“A lot of patients don’t realize the chest pains or shortness of breath that they may be facing are greater indicators of a severe underlying disease which can be deadly if left untreated,” Frick said.
Dr. Zoheir Abdelbaki, Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center Cardiology division chief, said it is important for patients to focus on common heart disease symptoms that include chest pain, shortness of breath or blacking out. Uncommon symptoms patients miss or don’t think about are arm and jaw pain, nausea, dizziness and abdominal discomfort.
“A patient might have arm pain they think is from lifting something and they tend to ignore it. That is what hurts the patients most when they ignore those symptoms,” Abdelbaki said. “I would love to see before I die that heart disease is not killing as many people as it is killing and we were able to make a dent and help people live longer.”
Risk factors for heart disease include age, history of diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and family history of heart disease.
Bad habits play a role. A person can choose to not exercise and not eat healthy food and may have problems because of those choices — even though high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart problems may not run in his family.
“The more risk factors a person has, the younger a person should get checked out at a younger age,” Abdelbaki said.
Abdelbaki added prevention is more important than treatment. An initial heart assessment by a physician is wise. This check includes a doctor asking about chest pains and shortness of breath and the patient has a baseline cardiogram. The physician will determine if there is a need to see a cardiologist.
While there is not a specific age recommended for this, Abdelbaki suggested a check at age 40.
A cardiologist will then decide if there needs to be an ultrasound of the heart, stress test or cardiac catheterization that needs to take place as well as X-rays.
After that initial check, people can then work on the things under their control: diet, exercise and healthy choices.
Abdelbaki recommended an exercise minimum of a half hour three times a week. Frick recommended a half hour five times a week. Start slow and work up.
If you have a health concern that contributes like diabetes, work to control your blood sugars. If you smoke, quit.
Dr. Mark Buettner, Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center physicians assistant, and Dr. Kishore Nalllu see heart patients at St. Rita’s and also at Putnam County Ambulatory Care once a week in Ottawa.
There is an obesity epidemic that Buettner believes is leading to increasing heart disease.
“We are seeing people at earlier ages getting heart problems because of diabetes and obesity that causes hypertension,” Buettner said.
Caught it in time
Crowe is feeling grateful these days. Heart problems are hereditary in Crowe’s family. Her father died at age 59 of congestive heart failure, and her mother had triple bypass surgery.
She told others to see their doctors right away if they don’t feel well and not wait like she did.
“I have two daughters and two grandchildren and want to be around for my family,” Crowe said.Chris Frick, Lima Memorial Health System physician assistant for cardiology, uses a stethoscope to check patient Sandra Crowe’s heartbeat.
By Jennifer Peryam
Source : https://www.limaohio.com/features/lifestyle/340319/heart-disease-no-1-killer