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Don’t brush it off: Know the symptoms of a heart attack

KATY (February28, 2017)

John Hopkins, Jr. says he works out regularly, tries to eat healthy, and has regular check-ups with his primary care physician.  So when he couldn’t get rid of what he thought was bad acid reflux, he was confused.

“I had no idea I was experiencing signs of a heart attack. I thought there was something wrong with my stomach. After several instances, I called my primary care physician and he, along with a team of caregivers, met me at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital,” says Hopkins.

Hopkins was having a heart attack, and like many Americans, didn’t immediately recognize the symptoms. Physicians say symptoms of a heart attack range from discomfort in the chest, arm, or neck, dizziness, clammy skin, and nausea. Hopkins hopes that by sharing his story, he might help others recognize the symptoms and get help.

“You often hear about chest pain as a sign of a heart attack. However, many people describe it more like tightness or pressure in the chest. Others will have back pain, nausea or shortness of breath. The symptoms can vary, and that’s why so many people don’t realize they’re having a heart attack,” says Imran Dar, M.D., an interventional cardiologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Katy and an assistant professor with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

Dr. Dar inserted a stent into the clogged artery in Hopkins’ heart to allow blood to flow freely.

“I was amazed at how far technology has come,” says Hopkins. “Dr. Dar used a catheter for the procedure and only needed to make a small incision. Not only will I likely not have a scar, I was up and walking around again the next day!”

“Talk to your doctor about your risk for heart disease, because the key to successful treatment is recognizing the symptoms early. Don’t brush off the symptoms as something else. Heart disease isn’t something to ignore,” encourages Dr. Dar.

Memorial Hermann Katy is equipped to handle a variety of heart and vascular conditions, including treating heart attacks at its accredited chest pain center. The recently renovated cardiac catheterization lab offers state-of-the-art equipment staffed by specially trained cardiologists, nurses, and technicians. Learn more about the heart and vascular services offered at Memorial Hermann Katy.