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Navy Veteran survives heart attack and warns others

Heart attack survivor tells story
Posted at 10:11 AM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 11:11:43-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — When a heart attack strikes time is of the essence, something a retired Navy Veteran says he knows all to well. What started off as a normal morning before work, quickly changed in an instant. A retired Navy Veteran recently suffered a heart attack and lived to share his story of survival. He has a warning to others.

Heart Attack Survivor, Russell Nunn was starting a new chapter in his life when tragedy struck, " I spent 21 years in the military. I've been through both Afghanistan and Iraq. All of sudden this pops up, I almost get taken out by a heart attack."

Russell Nunn had only been retired from the Navy for a month when the unthinkable happened. He went from experiencing chest pains, to loosing consciousness to being rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.

Nunn says," All of sudden my arms kind of felt heavy, like I've been lifting things too much and my shoulders felt really painful and in the center of my chest it felt like gas."

Nunn started to sweat profusely, his fingers began to tingle and his vision became blurry. He was having a heart attack.

For Nunn everything happened so quick, " I don't remember but just laying on the tile and my wife coming in and saying oh my god, oh my god."

She quickly called 911, as her husband lost consciousness. He was rushed to the hospital and with in minutes, he was prepped and ready for emergency surgery.

Dr. Thomas Alexander, MD / Cardiologist with Corpus Christi Medical Center, " A heart attack occurs when the arteries or the pluming to your heart occludes or blocks off. And when the clot forms, depending how bad the clot is, you either have a massive heart attack or a warning heart attack."

Nunn had a partial blockage in two of his coronary arteries. His body was struggling to send oxygen to his heart. His doctor, Thomas Alexander with Corpus Christi Medical Center, was able to place two stints in his blocked arteries opening up blood flow. Condition's like Nunn's didn't happen over night.

Dr. Thomas Alexander, a Cardiologist with Corpus Christi Medical Center, says, " It's a life long process. All the junk we eat at a younger age, the cholesterol builds up in your arteries and it happens over decades."

In 2006, the American College of Cardiology launched the Door to Balloon Initiative, with the goal of improving the timeliness of therapy for heart attack patients. The national average of Door to Balloon is 90 minutes. Nunn's Door to Balloon time was 44 minutes.

Nunn has had to change his routines, " I've had to be very careful on what I do and how I do it. Definitely take a look at your family history of heart problems or cholesterol issues and try to fin out. I'm not that old, I'm only 46."

Smoking or having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity or a strong family history of heart disease puts you at higher risk for having a heart attack. Exercising and eating a healthy diet can help keep your heart healthy and you out of the doctors office.

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