Do you know the symptoms of coronary artery disease?
“I had no symptoms. I didn’t get it. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me.”
That’s what Mark Weitz said of his frame of mind ahead of a routine checkup in October of last year. But abnormal lab numbers from that appointment indicated something was indeed wrong.
Andrea Neault, physician assistant at Aurora Health Care in Winneconne, WI, was quick to react, scheduling a series of tests to get to the bottom of it. When the tests came back with alarming results, Weitz made an appointment with a cardiologist set for a week before Christmas. But he started having trouble before that.
“I was unloading some wood in my shop, and I was so out of breath, I had to sit down,” he said. “Then the following day, around 6 p.m. after supper, I was coughing so bad, I couldn’t catch my breath.”
After a trip to the ER and some oxygen, Mark started to feel better, but found out he would need to have a procedure to examine his heart as soon as possible. However, due to the severity of his cardiovascular disease, a cardiac catheterization was upgraded to a coronary artery bypass graft. On Dec. 23, he had the surgery and spent Christmas in the hospital recovering.
“When I saw Andrea a couple weeks ago, I said: ‘Thank you very much, because I might not be alive otherwise,’” expresses Mark. “I give her a lot of credit for seeing that I needed it.”
Coronary artery disease most often occurs when cholesterol-containing deposits or plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, which supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients. This plaque narrows the arteries, and in turn, decreases the blood flow to the heart. Inflammation, damage and disease are other causes of coronary artery disease.
Do you know the symptoms of coronary artery disease? Here are the most common:
- Severe fatigue
- Chest pain
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the hands and feet
- Heart palpitations
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away.
About the Author
Brianna Wunsch, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Aurora Health with a BA in public affairs from University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. In her free time, Brianna enjoys living an active lifestyle through biking, hiking and working out at the gym, but even more than that, she especially loves spending quality time with her two cats (Arthur and Loki), son and husband.