Reduce Your Risk: Hollis' close call
BATON ROUGE- Someone in the U.S. is killed by a heart attack every 34 seconds. A South Louisiana school superintendent almost found this out the hard way, in an experience that he says "has changed his life."
Last October, 42-year-old Hollis Milton was driving from Baton Rouge to St. Francisville, when he started feeling some frightening symptoms.
"I was starting to breathe very heavily, I was sweating," Milton told News 2's John Pastorek. "I started to feel some chest pain, the pain became more intense, the breathing was much heavier. I even began to feel a little nauseas.
With no history of heart disease, Milton thought he might just have a virus. He called his family doctor who convinced him to call 9-11. Paramedics took him to a hospital in Zachary where Dr. Mrugesh Soni found the problem.
One of Milton's main arteries, known as "the Widowmaker" was 100% blocked...he was having a heart attack.
Upon hearing this, Milton says he prayed to God.
"I said God, I lived a great life, if it's my time I understand, however I have two small children and a beautiful wife. If I can just make it back."
Luckily he did. Dr. Soni inserted a stent to open up the blocked artery.
Doctors say Milton's case is an example of a tragic trend. More and more younger adults are having heart attacks, and many are dying because they don't get tot the hospital in time.
"We're seeing heart disease in very young people from 25-45," said Dr. Soni. "we've never seen that before. Part of that is genetic, but part of it is also exercise."
Milton was extremely lucky. There was no heart damage, and he was back at work within a week.
When asked about what he's learned from this experience Milton reflected on the importance of getting help immediately.
"Call 9-11," he said. "The time is very critical, not only for saving your life, but in preventing heart damage."
You can meet many heart attack survivors, like Hollis, at the Capital Area Heart Walk this Saturday, March 21st at LSU's old front nine. For more information, visit their website here.