A Lake Charles physician is preaching prevention after suffering a heart attack. Dr. David Engleking is the Chief Medical Officer at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital. He talks about the pain that brought him to his knees and the changes he is making for his health today.
Every day at St. Pat's, Dr. Engleking makes his rounds to check on others. This physician never imagined that he would become the patient in the wee hours one December morning. "I had gone to bed feeling good," he said, "woke up a little after two in the morning with a pain unlike anything I had ever had before."
The squeezing heaviness in Dr. Engleking's chest brought him to his knees and he hopped in the car with his wife to rush to the hospital. "Within an hour I was in the cath lab and had an obstructed artery opened up," he said.
Balloon angioplasty opened the obstructed artery and two stents helped get the blood flowing again.
Dr. Engleking says the immediate recognition of the heart attack signs saved him time and muscle. "Had I wasted more time getting in, it's likely that more muscle would've been destroyed by this heart attack," he said.
This doctor had to take another doctor's orders. His cardiologist told him to eat healthier, exercise more - the steps to prevent a future cardiac crisis. That is a message he is passing on today: "People need to be visiting with their physicians before they start any kind of strenuous exercise program, to have that stress test, have that cardiac evaluation," said Dr. Engleking.
The American Heart Association says that smoking, family history of heart disease and sedentary lifestyles all contribute to a higher risk for heart disease.