Bobby is under 60 years old and is considered to be healthy and very active. He eats well, drinks protein shakes, works out five days a week, plays racquetball and hits the sauna. He spends much of his time officiating basketball, softball and volleyball games. So, who would expect that on January 24th, 2015 he would have a heart attack?
It started out like any other Saturday. That morning Bob Demijan officiated two basketball games and visited a local store. It was then that he started having a pain in the center of his chest. Assuming it was heartburn from the spicy meatballs he had the night before he went home and took an antacid. When his daughter, who is studying occupational medicine, entered their home she recommended he visit the Emergency Department.
Demijan went to St. Mary’s Hospital and was immediately taken into an exam room. “One of the blood tests showed a problem so they immediately transferred me to Good Samaritan,” states Demijan. At Good Samaritan, Interventional Cardiologist, Walter Parham, MD, placed three stents. “I felt very healthy up until that day and didn’t know I had heart problems”.
“Mr. Demijan was doing what he could to prevent a heart attack. He was living a heart healthy lifestyle – exercising regularly, eating heart healthy food, maintaining a healthy weight, he did not smoke, and his blood pressure and cholesterol were all well controlled,” observed Dr. Parham. “In some patients, genetics makes a big difference. Bobby’s family history tells us more of the story,” states Parham.
Prior to January Demijan had not experienced any pain or discomfort and was very fit. He was one of the lucky ones, but heart disease does run in his family. “It is very important to seek preventive care if your family has a history of premature coronary artery disease. It can be hard to make sense of unusual heart symptoms, and therefore one should not ignore possible warning signs of a heart attack by waiting to see if these go away, or being quick to blame them on heartburn,” states Parham.
Demijan has now completed Cardiac Rehabilitation at St. Mary’s Hospital and says “Just because you look good and healthy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. See your doctor for recommended tests, preventative measures are important.” Dr. Parham also recommends seeing your primary care provider regularly, who can help monitor and manage your heart disease risk factors.
Learn more about our heart services or contact your primary care provider to get up to date physicals and evaluations.
Photo: Bobby Demijan during one of his sessions at St. Mary’s Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation.