Healthbeat 4: Why you shouldn't ignore signs of a heart attack - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Healthbeat 4: Why you shouldn't ignore signs of a heart attack


Alan Faith walks into the emergency room at Unity Point Health St. Luke's for work nearly every day. However, a trip there nearly 15 months ago was anything but routine.

"I started experiencing some chest pain. I would be on the treadmill running and I would get some chest pain on the left side of my chest," said Alan Faith, Unity Point Health St. Luke's Trauma Program Coordinator and EMS Outreach, "I would minimize it and deny it."

Faith continued to run on the treadmill, but the pain persisted, moving to his left arm and up to his jaw. That's when he called a fellow colleague at St. Luke's.    

"I explained the situation and they said you need to immediately come up," said Faith. 

Faith got in the car and drove himself the short distance from the gym and began to receive treatment.He got a full cardio work-up including 12 lead electrocardiogram or EKG and showed that he was having a heart attack. Cardiologists then took Faith to a catheterization lab and put in a stent to correct the damage -- which thankfully was minimal. Faith, who goes out into the community to teach the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, says he was in denial he could have a heart attack at just 44 years old.

"I kept thinking, I'm too young, I exercise, I try to eat right, my cholesterol was within normal range," said Faith, "So I thought, it can't be my heart." 

Faith also says he should have called an ambulance rather than drive himself to the hospital.

"The system is designed for you to call 911 and then it enters into a system of care for early intervention for patients that are having a heart attack and that's how the system is designed."

Faith says denial was a large part in his delay in getting care and wants others to know ...

"It comes down to if you're having chest pains, you're having chest pains," said Faith, "So you need to seek medical attention."

A life lesson from a professional so it doesn't happen to you. 

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