Heart attack symptoms not always intense
He was 46, led an active lifestyle, kept fit and "maybe I didn't eat the best, but my metabolism took care of me," he said.
It was 2006 and McKelvey, a quality engineer at NCI Building Systems, a national steel construction company in Houston, woke up one Sunday feeling a bit of pressure in his chest. "It was so mild, I almost blew it off," he said. By that night, someone told him he looked pale, so McKelvey, a Clear Lake resident, called his doctor, who said it was probably nothing, but that he should go to the emergency room just to be sure.
Sure enough, the emergency room doctors could find nothing wrong with McKelvey. At midnight, they were ready to release McKelvey when a blood enzyme test came back with a positive reading for a heart attack.
"The next day, they put a stent in," he said. "One artery was 70 percent clogged. It certainly could have continued until it developed into something more serious."
Men don't typically go to the hospital when they have a slight pain, McKelvey said, but this time, it was definitely worth the trouble, "It was a wakeup call for me, and it was a big wakeup call for my friends who are more couch potato-ish."
McKelvey didn't have many of the precursors of heart trouble, but one mark against him was genetics. His father had four heart attacks, the first when he was 51. "I wish I would have paid more attention when my dad went through those heart attacks and bypasses," he said.
Now McKelvey does a better job of watching his nutrition and stress. He keeps an eye on his cholesterol, exercises regularly and has lost five pounds to put him at the ideal weight for his age and body type. Along with his lifestyle changes, he also visits his cardiologist two times each year.
"The prevention is definitely easier than the cure," he said.
McKelvey, a quality engineer at NCI Building Systems in Houston, suffered a heart attack when he was 46. Recently, he helped organizers raise a total of $288,000 for the 2012 American Heart Association Northwest Harris County Heart Walk, exceeding their goal by $3,000. The event also raised awareness of heart disease, which claims 813,000 people in the U.S. each year, according to the American Heart Association.
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