Joan Norman started experiencing shoulder and arm pain in late November 2013; however, amid the holiday rush and other family obligations, she put off seeing a doctor. But her body wasn’t going to let her put it off for long. According to Joan, she started feeling really bad after Thanksgiving.
“I had severe burning on my left side, terrible shoulder pain and upper back pain,” she said.
When the pain wouldn’t subside, she called for her husband, Garey, who was a former EMT. He immediately recognized that Joan was experiencing the classic signs of a heart attack and got her into the car to take her to a hospital. Driving from their home near Bullitt County, they had reached Fern Creek when Joan didn’t think she could make it to the hospital.
“I told him to go to the Norton Immediate Care Center in Fern Creek,” Joan said.
Garey relayed her symptoms to the immediate care center staff. They quickly took Joan back to a room, where Karyn Watters, M.D., examined her. Minutes into her exam, she stopped breathing, had a grand mal seizure, became cyanotic and had no pulse.
The immediate care center staff’s rapid assessment and treatment contributed to Joan having no permanent damage to her heart, though her type of massive heart attack is considered the most deadly.
“I am so blessed to be alive. The folks at Norton Immediate Care Center performed a miracle.” – Joan Norman
An estimated 3 million people in the U.S. have atrial fibrillation, also known as A-fib, and the number is projected to more than double to 7.5 million by 2050, according to the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. Norton Healthcare is committed to fighting A-fib, which can lead to serious complications such as heart failure and stroke if left untreated.
The launch of the Norton Heart Care Atrial Fibrillation Center of Excellence in summer 2013 gives patients access to expert care from a multidisciplinary team that includes clinical cardiac electrophysiologists, heart surgeons, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, sleep medicine specialists and coagulation specialists. The team manages the entire spectrum of care, from first-line therapies, including lifestyle modification and medication, to complex procedures such as catheter ablation and cardiac surgery.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States, accounting for one in every four deaths. However, it can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition and physical activity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all Americans have at least one of these three risk factors for heart disease:
Other medical conditions and lifestyle choices that can put you at an increased risk for heart disease include:
You can protect your heart health by: