Doctor's lesson: Don't ignore warning signs

- Cardiologist Dr. James Smith has been caring for patients at Florida Hospital in Tampa for more than a quarter century.  However, he became the patient after developing symptoms in the middle of the night.

"I woke up and I was having discomfort along the sides of my chest," he recalled.  "I took something for it and it went away and I nodded off to sleep again and woke up with it a second time and thought, 'I don't want to be stupid.'"

Dr. Smith said he knew something wasn't right, but didn't quite know what it was. His father had heart problems at a young age, so he knew he was at risk

"I thought I was going to beat all the odds because I don't eat red meat, I don't smoke, my cholesterol was treated, my blood pressure was perfect, and I was exercising.  I was one of the good people that was doing the things I should have been doing, and yet it still sneaked up and tried to get me."

It sneaked up because the only symptom he remembers was getting winded when he was running. He now feels like he should have been more prepared.

"I should have had something like a coronary calcium score, or a CT angiogram," he said.

Dr. Smith now has a stent and takes medication to prevent a future heart attack, but he wants others to learn from his experience.

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