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Young people at risk for heart attack, too

September 01, 2015

Just because you are below the age of 40 doesn't mean you can't have a heart attack. Heart failure can strike at any age.

Approximately 40,000 of the 1.2 million heart attacks reported every year strike people between the ages of 35 and 44.

Damon Givens, a patient at Southview Medical Center in Centerville, part of the Kettering Health Network, recently learned that he was not too young for a heart attack.

While mowing the lawn this past Father's Day, the 30-year-old passed out. Luckily his three-year old son Henry was watching him mow from the window and ran to tell his mother that "Daddy's on the ground." Whitney Givens found her husband unconscious, his lips were blue and she called 911.

"Mowing the lawn is normally not an exhausting task, but I apparently had a buildup of plaque in my arteries that led to the heart attack," said Givens, who went into the hospital in full cardiac arrest and had to have a stent put in. Givens said there were no warnings and that he had no previous health conditions.

"I had no issues. I had no high cholesterol, no heart problems in my family history that I was aware of either."

Brad Gibson, D.O. cardiologist at Kettering Physician Network, performed a cardiac catheterization, a diagnostic test to find a potential cause, and found 95 percent blockage of a main artery.

Givens, who is fully recovered, wants others to know the importance of heart screenings. "Don't ignore things, even when there aren't signs. Get checked out," says Givens. "I don't care what reservations you have."

"I feel good," said Givens, a mechanical engineer at Cargill. "Everything is coming back mentally and physically. The whole experience has made me appreciate my family and enjoy the moments that I have now. I don't think I'll ever know how close to the edge I was, but I appreciated the way everyone worked together to help me. The medical team was like a family."

Are you at risk? Take a heart quiz now to find out. Then sign up for a health screening through the Kettering Health Network.