When Don Martin decided to participate in a Keep the Beat heart screening with Arkansas Heart Hospital last year, he didn’t expect it to change his life. He had done a screening a few years prior that revealed some slight cholesterol issues, and wanted to see how things had changed in the years since. What the screening found was more severe.
“I never dreamed I’d have 90% blockage in the ‘widow maker’ artery.”
The “widow maker” is a lethal kind of heart attack that occurs when the left anterior descending artery is completely or almost completely blocked, stopping all blood flow to the left side of the heart. Despite not showing many symptoms, if Don had waited much longer, it might have been too late.
“I had what I can best describe as a ‘flutter’ feeling a few times while running. I had a similar response when walking up a couple flights of stairs, which seemed abnormal,” he said. At 48, he led an active lifestyle, frequently running half marathons and 5k races, coaching youth league basketball and chasing his kids. But in spite of this, he developed a serious blockage in a crucial artery – and Keep the Beat helped discover it.
A Keep the Beat screening assesses a patient’s overall heart health and risk for heart disease. Patients receive counseling from a healthcare professional and educational resources to help prevent heart disease. In Don’s case, it revealed the need for a stent and ended up saving his life.
After having his stent placed and receiving clearance from the hospital, Don was able to go hiking in Colorado with his family. He didn’t have to worry about a cardiac event or how his heart would respond to the hike – he just enjoyed the time with his family, all because he made the choice to get screened.
While Keep the Beat does not substitute a routine check-up with your doctor, it can help identify the potential for heart disease and allow patients to get life-saving treatment. Learn more about Keep the Beat and schedule your screening today. Purchase your Keep the Beat soon — it’s only $49 during the month of February.