Supreme senior athlete Fred Drilling ending up having QUADRUPLE heart bypass surgery raises the key question for all of us: what are the signs and what should you do about it?
Fred Says …
“It started last Saturday morning playing dubs with Gagnon, Landauer, and Vandenberg. Had a burning sensation in my lungs for 15-20 seconds. That was the 3rd game; so finished 3 sets. It came back the next day in the afternoon at a restaurant. Would come and go and when I got home, it was mostly staying with me.
“The next afternoon at a restaurant, it started coming back just a little bit at a time and by the time I got home it was pretty strong. I knew I had never felt anything quite like that, so I decided to go to the ER. Pretty good decision on my part. Most of my decisions are not that good.”
American Heart Association Says …
According to the AHA, “Don’t wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body and call 911 if you experience:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes – or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.”
Update From Fred… “I came home yesterday afternoon and I’m feeling amazingly well. Chest only hurts when I do certain things using my arms. Have a nurse and a physical therapist coming today I think for 2 or 3 days. Breathing exercises are mostly what I’m supposed to be doing. “
What gets me is the “surprise” aspect of all this. How does a guy like Fred, who I watched in the last tournament of the senior season in St. Pete as he played a grueling three set singles match vs. Steve Lunsford and then a doubles match … and then the next day play a grueling three set singles match vs. Don Long and then another doubles match … how does an athlete like that end up with three arteries blocked at 70%, 80% and “the widow-maker” at 90%??
And how does a youngish billionaire like Steve Jobs suddenly get diagnosed with terminal stage 4 Pancreatic cancer? What happened to stages 1, 2, and 3?
My point is, as advanced as we are in today’s medical science, why aren’t there more “early warning” tests that can be taken to help us catch these problems before they become life-threatening or life-taking?
The old sports adage is “listen to your body”; but is that enough?
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