The nurses on duty were long time friends and knew that there was something wrong the moment she saw him.
Ed Covert, 46, thought he had a cold coming on, when he stopped by the nurse station at work. Are symptoms felt as the chest congestion.
“I had the full feeling in my chest, like when you have a chest cold,” he said. “I was coughing a lot, trying to escape the cramped feeling.” A heavy smoker at the time that he also experienced swelling in his feet, which he attributed to for the most part of the day.
The nurses on duty were long time friends and knew that there was something wrong the moment she saw him. “I asked for some cold medication,” says Covert, a correctional officer for the Dutchess County Jail in Poughkeepsie, New York. “The nurse gave me a quick look and said that they didn’t think it was a cold and ordered me to go to the hospital.”
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In the assumption that he had a virus, he drove himself thinking, “Great, I have some funky bug that is going around.” This is the reason why you are more likely to have a heart attack in the winter.
In the hospital, a doctor had unexpected news: Secret had mistaken his cold-like symptoms are not a heart attack, but two—and he was on his way to a third.
The diagnosis was not a complete shock. His father died at 41 as a result of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans. Still, the news shook up Secret’s life.
“She gave me a list of things that I couldn’t be more,” he told Reader’s Digest. “I was also a part-time farm hand, and I was used to move bales of hay, 50 pound bags of feed, and handling of animals. I was not supposed to be lifting heavier than a gallon of milk.”
Not only was the Secret forced to give up his work on the farm and retire from his job as a corrections officer, but he and his wife lost their house, who had come with the farm-hand job.
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Along with the dizzying life changes he experienced, the drugs Hidden got after his six-way bypass only seemed to worsen the symptoms. After a number of trips to the hospital to find the right mix of medication and the dosage, a doctor offered him a chance to take part in a clinical trial for an implanted device called the CardioMEMS. The pressure-sensing device is placed in the pulmonary artery and returns the data to the doctor. The technology allows doctors to monitor a patient’s progress remotely and suggest changes as needed.
That was in 2015, and since the receipt of the device, Covert’s life has been on an upswing.
“It’s amazing, because this device allows the doctors know I am on the road for the issues before I know it,” he said. “Since the implantation, I have had a few medication changes over the phone. Without CardioMEMS, I would have to drive 45 minutes to the hospital to see a doctor. Because CardioMEMS monitor me from a distance, we can easily make medication changes without a visit.” Read this 9 things to know about heart attacks before you have one.
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Phil Adamson, MD, MSc, FACC, medical director of Abbott heart failure business says of Secret’s success with the device: “Ed’s story is just one of the many that is an example of a life-changing technology, which ensure that the day-to-day burden of patients with heart failure can have, and to help them have a healthier, fuller life.”
While heart disease can be a result of genetics, there are other indicators that your heart is in trouble. Watch out for these silent signs that you could be on your way to a heart attack.
This article first appeared on Reader’s Digest.