HEART MONTH: Primary care doctors important in effort to be heart healthy
“He definitely would have been in trouble had he not said something to us about it and not come in for the wellness exam.”
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Staying healthy has been particularly important to us in this last year. February is time for Americans to also focus on cardiovascular health.
There are certain things we can do to prevent heart disease, like exercise and eat healthy foods. It’s also important to see a doctor for regular checkups in order to help avoid emergency, life-threatening situations.
Scott Sigle knows that well. Last summer, he started experiencing sporadic chest pain.
“I noticed a funny feeling,” said Sigle. “It wasn’t anything that really got my attention, but a couple of days later it happened again and it was a little more severe.”
He says the chest pain returned a week later when he was driving to work, and then again when he was fishing.
“I was putting my stuff back in the truck and I actually stopped and thought something doesn’t feel right,” said Sigle.
Sigle says he didn’t think he needed to seek emergency care. He was scheduled to see his family doctor soon for an annual wellness exam, so he planned to bring it up then.
“When I was in there I mentioned to him, ‘Mark, I’ve had this kind of pain in my chest,’” said Sigle. “He started asking me some questions. He said, ‘Well, we need to get you in to see a cardiologist.’”
“Scott is not a guy who’s just complaining about minor issues or whatever else, so when he mentioned a symptom that sounded somewhat serious, that set off bells for me because of that long term relationship I have with him,” said Dr. Mark English, a Family Medicine doctor with Baylor Scott & White Health.
That relationship saved Sigle’s life. The cardiologist found that one of Sigle’s arteries had a 70% blockage and inserted a stent to address the problem.
“The system worked exactly the way it’s supposed to: preventative care picked up the red flag, got him to qualified consultants we have in our system,” said Dr. English. “He definitely would have been in trouble had he not said something to us about it and not come in for the wellness exam.”
Sigle continues doing cardiac rehab twice a week. He says the pain has not returned.
“When I saw him after this procedure, I think he was more excited than I was,” said Sigle. ”He told me, ‘Scott, a lot of men won’t say something when they think they have a problem.’ But I did the right thing by saying to my doctor, ‘uh, we might need to check into this.’”
If you are looking for a primary care physician, Dr. English suggests you start by asking people you know. Talk to family and friends about their doctors to see who they recommend.
He also says it’s okay if you don’t know how to perfectly explain any issues you may be experiencing. Just bring it up and your doctor will ask questions to help figure out what’s happening.
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