#happylife: Young father learns the importance of knowing risk factors for a heart attack

#happylife: Young father learns the importance of knowing risk factors for a heart attack

An Airway Heights father learned the hard way that it’s more than diet and exercise that impacts your heart health.

About a month ago, Kyle DeFoe was at work when he started to feel pain and pressure in his chest. It didn’t take long for him to call 911, although he didn’t know what was wrong at the time.

Emergency responders knew right away that he had a heart attack.

“I didn’t really know what to think,” DeFoe said.

It came as a surprise to him because the father is only 33.

Dr. Douglas Wysham, with MultiCare Deaconess Hospital, said DeFoe’s case is unusual because of his young age, but what wasn’t unusual is that he is diabetic.

“Diabetes, unfortunately, raises the risk of a heart attack in anybody roughly eightfold,” Dr. Wysham said.

The other part of DeFoe’s dangerous combination was that he had a family history of heart disease.

“I didn’t realize how much family history of heart disease I had,” DeFoe said.

Dr. Wysham said those risk factors increased DeFoe’s chances of having a heart attack.

“Every factor that does exist, whether it is diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, family history, they are all multiplicative. So, if you are diabetic and you smoke, the two risks multiply eachother,” Dr. Wysham said.

Dr. Wysham said within about an hour of the 911 call coming in, DeFoe was at the hospital and had a stent put in his clogged artery to open up blood flow to the heart again. That quick action prevented a lot of damage.

“We say that time is muscle and so the quicker that we can open up a blocked artery, the more muscle is salvaged,” Dr. Wysham said.

Now, DeFoe is doing cardiac rehab and his doctors are very optimistic that if he continues to lead a healthy lifestyle, he’ll live a relatively normal life.

That’s what really matters at the end of the day, being there for his wife and young son.

“Go get it checked out, because I was told that if I didn’t act on it when I did, I could possibly not even be here,” Defoe said.

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