Aug 03, 2015
Approximately three years ago, I had to find a new Family Physician because my other family
doctor was retiring. I had been going to him for over 10 years on an annual basis.
It was early May 2012, I had my annual medical checkup appointment.When It was my turn, I went into my Doctor's office and I no sooner sat down getting ready to have that dreaded prostate exam when my physician and friend, announced that "he would be retiring at the end of June 2012."
He said, " Bill I'm retiring June 30th and you and your wife will have to find yourselves another family Doctor !" We shook hands and I left without even having the annual exam I went there for.
.Although I wasn't completely surprised by his comments, I was disappointed because family Doctors these days are very difficult to find. If you have ever tried to locate a good, dependable ,family General Practitioner, you'll know what I mean.
To make a long story short, my wife Shauna knew a co-worker who had a good , general Practitioner. She referred both of us to her family Physician who fortunately,accepted us as patients. I was very happy about having a new family Doctor and soon made an appointment.
During my first appointment with my new Doctor, she informed me that I had very high Blood Pressure readings. I was surprised because I had never been told that before. As far as I could recall , my blood pressure had always been in the low 130/90 range. As long as I could remember,I had never ever recalled being recorded in the normal range of 120/80.
When I asked her why my Blood Pressure was so high, she replied " your over 70 years of age and when you hit the 70's, Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) is quite common". Actually, I was 75 at the time. My blood pressure reading were so high , she was very concerned and ordered several tests for me and referred me to a Cardiologist.
At that point ,I'm sure my blood pressure went up a few more notches, because now I was very concerned about my overall well being and general health. I've always lived a very healthy, lifestyle, exercised regularly, and I eat healthy foods and I am not over weight.
The first test my Physician sent me for was a electrocardiogram, This was followed by echo sound test, stress tests, blood-work and ultimately an Angiogram.t
I couldn't believe how quickly my life had changed that Summer of 2012. For almost three months, I was in and out of the hospital having all of these tests to determine why my blood pressure reading were so abnormal.
After the Angiogram,results, my Doctor phoned me the very next day and told me that I had had a " heart attack"some time in the past. She did not know when but she said " there was a 100% blockage in one of my arteries in the left ventricle of my heart indicating that I had had an EVENT!."
Needless to say, I was absolutely flabbergasted and told her that I did not believe her. After all, being a Dentist and having some educational background in medicine.I certainly was aware of the critical signs of a heart attack and I don't recall ever having any of the classic symptoms like| :
* Chest discomfort,(uncomfortable chest pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness )
* Discomfort in other areas of the upper body (neck,jaw, shoulder,arms back)
* Shortness of breath
Even following some extensive exercise activities, none of these signs appeared. With that said however, those other more subtle symptoms of a heart attack, like nausea, profuse sweating and dizziness or light- headedness) soon became apparent.
My doctor told me that I had what she referred to as a "Silent Heart Attack" and said they are quite common ! I couldn't believe it and was still in denial. I had never heard of such a thing !
Being the curious individual I am. I began to reflect back in my past and try to recall when I had the symptoms of nausea, sweating and being light-headed. Yureka ! About six years ago, I quite vividly remember having such an event that lasted less that one minute.
I was sitting in front of my computer one morning when suddenly, my vision began to falter. I became nauseous and began sweating profusely. I couldn't believe what was happening to me. My head was just spinning ! I quickly stood up, shook my head several times and sat down . The event was over and all of the symptoms mentioned disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.
That had to be the moment I encountered the "silent heart attack" and didn't even realize it. Imagine having a heart attack several years before being diagnosed with severe hypertention. This is my story. Perhaps you have a similar one . I'm sure I am not the only one to ever have experienced a "Silent Heart Attack" and lived to tell about it!
Dr W P.Catalano, DDS.,FICD.,FACD.,CAP