WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)— The signs of a heart attack aren’t always clear.
“We have a lot of strong people, strong men and women I guess it’s being strong and always being able to weather various storms in their life, they wait till it’s a bit dragged on before they come in,” Interventional Cardiologist Chukwudi Obiagwu said.
It can come in the form of chest pressure or aches, but also, pain in the arms, jaw, and back. Nausea and weakness, also a sign.
“What causes a heart attack? It’s from lack of blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart muscle, a heart attack starts from when you have plaque, for example, what we see here build up in the blood vessels, usually, it progresses over the years or in some people because of unfortunate genetics, it happens earlier,” Obiagwu said.
Obiagwu said for women, the symptoms are even less indictive its a heart attack you’re suffering from. Maybe you’re feeling out of sorts, or fatigued.
“The saying goes, time is muscle and the earlier you come in and get the care you need, where we would do an EKG and run some blood tests to see if the heart muscle is damaged, that would be better,” Obiagwu said.
For many people, it’s inevitable, heart problems run in the family. We can’t choose our genetics, but there are many ways to stay on top of it. Having an inactive lifestyle, and eating unhealthy foods, only makes it worse.
“You need to be as fit as possible, you need to watch what you eat, try to avoid the sugary drinks, high-calorie beverages, juices and even the energy drinks in the market, try to avoid it or cut down on it, you need to focus more on eating green leafy vegetables, fruits,” Obiagwu said.
The big question here though, what about red meat?
“What I tell my people, I like to call my patients my people, what I tell them is first step should always be portion control,” Obiagwu said.
It’s all, though, about baby steps.
“You don’t have to do anything drastic immediately, you don’t have to go from 0 to 60 and be a hero, no,” Obiagwu said.
Take a walk for 15 minutes a day, or do some stretching before your feet ever hit the floor in the morning. Gradually increase exercise over time.
“Something is better than nothing,” Obiagwu said.
Be sure too, you know your numbers.
“When you go to your doctor, be comfortable enough to ask what your cholesterol is and what you need to do to be better,” Obiagwu said.
If you do start to notice something is off, you’re not feeling right, and you think especially it could be your heart, don’t think twice.
“Do not hesitate, call the ambulance, call 911, and have people that are trained to help you, come help you,” Obiagwu said.
Early heart attack care is vital to keeping that vital muscular organ pumping.