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, Wis., 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.
To learn more about your heart health, to take a free online quiz.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.