AHA Information: New York state prosecutor’s discomfort wasn’t jet lag – it was a coronary heart assault – Shopper Well being Information
THURSDAY, February 4, 2021 (American Heart Association News) – David Soares stopped lifting weights during an early morning workout at a friend’s gym in Albany, New York when he was unable to catch his breath. He sat down, but it didn’t help, so he stretched out on the floor.
The day before he had taken a red-eyed flight home from his honeymoon. So he thought he just needed a nap. His host, Michael Castellana, was not ready to remove the discomfort so easily.
“He wasn’t really dedicated and if you know David you know he never stops talking,” said Castellana.
When Castellana noticed Soares keep putting his hand on his chest, he got his blood pressure cuff and insisted on testing it.
“It read 227/127, so I said a few words, gave him a glass of water and an aspirin, and told him we would take him to the hospital,” said Castellana.
Soares resisted, but Castellana, who has been treated for high blood pressure for two decades and has a family history of heart disease, would not take no for an answer.
Tests at the hospital showed that the then 47-year-old Soares had suffered a heart attack in seemingly good shape. Doctors also determined that he needed five-fold bypass.
“It was a breathtaking wake up call that required a complete and complete change in philosophy and lifestyle,” said Soares.
It wasn’t a complete surprise either.
Soares’ father underwent quadruple bypass surgery after a heart attack and then died of a second heart attack at age 68. Years prior to this scary episode, Soares was diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He was prescribed medication but was not busy taking it. His four older siblings were also being treated for high blood pressure and cholesterol.
As the District Attorney for the New York capital, Soares had such a busy schedule that he didn’t always keep up with health checkups.
While he admits having prioritized work over health, he exercised up to five times a week. But when he got a demanding job and three teenagers under one roof, his family dinners often came from a drive-through. They ordered pizza at least once a week. It was his 12 weeks in cardiac rehabilitation that taught him how to eat a healthy heart. He counted calories before his heart attack but never paid attention to things like sodium, he said.
Doctors told Soares that regular physical activity helped him recover faster, but he couldn’t exaggerate his family history.
“If you are genetically predisposed, there is no negotiation,” he said. “In my case, I was taken back to the table to renegotiate and unfortunately that table was the operating table.”
In addition to the three months he spent physically recovering, Soares also struggled with depression. He became fearful en masse, and feared that people might bump his chest.
“You are going from a kind of captain of industry to a room where it is tedious to go from point A to point B,” he said.
When he returned to work, he made changes to relieve his stress. He reorganized his team to better delegate responsibilities, and made a commitment to get home on time every day and unplug it.
51 year old Soares continues to work with Castellana and a group of friends and remains vigilant about his diet. He is also more cautious about the information he consumes.
“My doctor would talk to me about it at every appointment, but there is this fitness and nutrition culture that tells you to go to the gym or eat this a thousand times a day, and I paid more attention to it than my own cardiologist.” he said. “If I had listened to him, I might not have seen it.”
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From Suzanne Marta