LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Though heart-shaped everything is a common theme during this time of year, Sparrow Health System wants you to check on your own heart too.
Sparrow CEO James Dover said heart health is something that is personal to him.
“They not only treated my heart, but they healed my heart, and then they touched my heart,” said Dover.
Most bosses say they rely on their workers, but for Dover, his life was in their hands.
It all started when he went to the doctor about having shortness of breath. Doctors then told Dover that he was going to need open heart surgery, because they found an aortic aneurysm in his heart.
He’s not alone, as more than 800,000 Americans have heart attacks every year and 655,000 die annually of heart disease.
Doctors at Sparrow said there is a wide umbrella of cardiac complications.
“It encompasses strokes, it encompasses heart attacks or just blockages in your heart arteries, it encompasses heart failure,” said Dr. Kathryn Das.
Valentine’s Day might have your heart fluttering, but health officials say you need to keep an eye on your cardiac health and watch for telltale signs of something being amiss.
“Chest pain, shortness of breath sometimes, if you’re feeling like your heart is racing,” Dr. Das listed. “If you are feeling sometimes dizzy, or sometimes you might just have neck or jaw pain. If those symptoms are consistently being brought on when you are active, that’s an important thing to tell your doctor.”
Although Michigan has made progress in lowering the overall number of cardiac-related deaths.
Doctors said that this problem is often overlooked for minorities and is the leading killer of women over the age of 50.
“It kills more women than all forms of cancer combined,’ said Dr. Das. “So those are a specific population that we need to focus on.”
Doctors added that the biggest variable in a person’s case is how early symptoms are detected.
For Dover, it made all the difference.
“I feel better than I have felt in 5 years,” said Dover. “None of that would have been picked up if I hadn’t gone and seen the primary care physician.”
Sparrow has also started a class that occurs every Monday, educating the public on what they can do to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.