SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Would you know if you were having a heart attack and what to do to survive it? That’s what doctors are asking now that it’s winter when they see 50 percent more heart attacks than summertime. Cold weather causes blood vessels to constrict which increases the heart’s workload.
A Luzerne County man is a living example of someone who never had a heart problem yet suffered a heart attack in November. He is now sharing his story of survival to help others. “I don’t remember any real pain but a lot of tightness and discomfort.” George Aldrich says what he felt November 25th was nothing he had ever experienced. “But I didn’t think I was having a heart attack.”
The Avoca man was taken to Geisinger CMC where a coronary angiogram revealed a significant blockage. Interventional Cardiologist Yassir Nawaz, MD performed an angioplasty to repair the coronary artery. Even though George didn’t realize he had a blockage that was triggering his heart attack, what did weigh in his favor was he took immediate action and called 911.
Doctors say any chest discomfort could be the sign of a heart attack. Calling 911 is the first step to surviving one. Next, you should lie down so that the heart is doing less work. And chew an adult aspirin because Geisinger CMC Chief of Cardiology Stephen Voyce, MD says it can minimize blockages due to blood clots. “Chewing an aspirin gets it into your system quicker. Aspirin is a mild blood thinner.”
Dr. Voyce says what makes heart attacks so dangerous is they strike so suddenly. “Almost half the time the first manifestation of someone recognizing they have heart disease is an acute event like a heart attack.” George’s sudden brush with mortality is a wake-up call for us all. “You wouldn’t even think about those things. Now you start thinking about them a little bit.”
George’s health scare illustrates why it’s so important to take steps to protect your heart. If you smoke, quit. Cut back on your salt and lose the extra pounds. And exercise 30 minutes a day if you can. Any exercise will help your heart.