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By Mike Segroves

When we arrived in Sebring last fall, I thought I was in great shape.  But the first weekend we were here I had a dizzy spell and my wife dragged me into the ER at the local hospital.  Of course, the first thing that the ER doc does is put you on a pulse/blood pressure monitor and my pulse registered at 41.

 
Now I wasn't worried by this, I've had a slow pulse all of my life.  They almost wouldn't let me enlist in the Air Force back in '65 because of my slow pulse.  But the ER doc slammed me in the hospital for observation.  They did a stress test on me and of course, it showed nothing.  In fact, I've had four stress tests in the past 24 months and not one of them show anything.  So the next day they let me go, but they set me up with an appointment to see a cardiologist.
 
To make a long story short, in the last 90 days I've had six cardiac stents installed along with a pacemaker.  I had six arteries with between 70 and 90% blockages.  On one occasion, while I was out walking the dog, my pulse dropped to 29 beats per minute. 
 
I feel much better now than I have in years: I've got more energy, am better rested, more aware of what's going on around me.  I recently asked my cardiologist why all of those stress tests failed to show a problem.  The answer is that what they are looking at in analyzing a stress test is the difference in blood flow thru the three major  arteries that feed the heart.  And if all three of those arteries have the same or similar degree of blockage, a stress test won't show a problem.
 
(BTW, this is exactly the problem that Bill Clinton had.  Stress tests incorrectly showed he was fine, but in fact he had major blockages.)
 
I thought I was in good shape because my cholesterol was very low (in the 40's), I exercise a lot (I walk somewhere between 3 and 5 miles every day, play golf, and go to the gym around three times a week.) and I didn't have any symptoms.  But in fact, I was a walking time bomb.  I'm very lucky that my problem was discovered by testing and not by a major heart attack.
 
The lesson here is plain:  we're all on the other side of 60 now and starting to approach 70.  We need to be aware of our health and to start pushing our doctors to be more aggressive in testing us to make sure that we really are in good shape.  Stop smoking, exercise more, eat and drink less.  And most important, don't overlook the warning signs when they come.  If I hadn't listened to my wife and let her take me to the ER that day, who knows what might have happened.

 

When we arrived in Sebring last fall, I thought I was in great shape.  But the first weekend we were here I had a dizzy spell and my wife dragged me into the ER at the local hospital.  Of course, the first thing that the ER doc does is put you on a pulse/blood pressure monitor and my pulse registered at 41.

 
Now I wasn't worried by this, I've had a slow pulse all of my life.  They almost wouldn't let me enlist in the Air Force back in '65 because of my slow pulse.  But the ER doc slammed me in the hospital for observation.  They did a stress test on me and of course, it showed nothing.  In fact, I've had four stress tests in the past 24 months and not one of them show anything.  So the next day they let me go, but they set me up with an appointment to see a cardiologist.
 
To make a long story short, in the last 90 days I've had six cardiac stents installed along with a pacemaker.  I had six arteries with between 70 and 90% blockages.  On one occasion, while I was out walking the dog, my pulse dropped to 29 beats per minute. 
 
I feel much better now than I have in years: I've got more energy, am better rested, more aware of what's going on around me.  I recently asked my cardiologist why all of those stress tests failed to show a problem.  The answer is that what they are looking at in analyzing a stress test is the difference in blood flow thru the three major  arteries that feed the heart.  And if all three of those arteries have the same or similar degree of blockage, a stress test won't show a problem.
 
(BTW, this is exactly the problem that Bill Clinton had.  Stress tests incorrectly showed he was fine, but in fact he had major blockages.)
 
i thought I was in good shape because my cholesterol was very low (in the 40's), I exercise a lot (I walk somewhere between 3 and 5 miles every day, play golf, and go to the gym around three times a week.) and I didn't have any symptoms.  But in fact, I was a walking time bomb.  I'm very lucky that my problem was discovered by testing and not by a major heart attack.
 
The lesson here is plain:  we're all on the other side of 60 now and starting to approach 70.  We need to be aware of our health and to start pushing our doctors to be more aggressive in testing us to make sure that we really are in good shape.  Stop smoking, exercise more, eat and drink less.  And most important, don't overlook the warning signs when they come.  If I hadn't listened to my wife and let her take me to the ER that day, who knows what might have happened.
 
Mike Segroves   1965