Manning resident offers heart advice to women

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MANNING — Something was terribly wrong for a Manning woman headed to work.

Shirley Simon, 56, a nursing home administrator, arrived at work experiencing shortness of breath and intense chest pain. After resting for a few minutes, her chest pain would subside only to return a few minutes later.

“The trip down the hall to my office felt like it was getting further away as opposed to me getting closer to it,” Simon recalled. “I dropped everything on the floor and immediately called 911.”

After getting the attention of her staff and explaining her situation, her staff sprang into action, assisting Simon until EMS arrived.

“I experienced significant warning signs, which I ignored and dismissed as anxiety,” Simon said. “I had swelling on the left side of my body, nausea and chest pain.”

Simon was transported to McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, where she underwent a heart catheterization that revealed blockages in her heart that required open heart surgery. McLeod Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Cary Huber repaired Simon’s coronary blockages.

After recovering from her surgery, Simon completed a program of Cardiac Rehabilitation at McLeod Health Clarendon. The program helped Simon rebuild her strength and put her on track for a healthier lifestyle.

“If you’re having chest pain, numbness, nausea or vomiting, tingling in your arm or shortness of breath, these are all classic warning signs that something is wrong,” Simon added. “Don’t wait until it’s too late to see your physician.”

Simon said she’s now exercising at least 30 minutes every day and eating a well-balanced, heart-healthy diet. She is also closely monitoring her cholesterol level.

Coronary Artery Disease occurs when the coronary arteries become narrowed or blocked because of atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty deposits and plaque on the inner walls of the arteries. These blockages restrict blood flow to the heart. The most common symptom of CAD is angina or chest pain.

Cardiovascular disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined, but 80 percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented, according to Dr. Dennis Long, cardiologist with McLeod Cardiology Associates in Sumter. Diet, exercise and lifestyle choices such as avoiding smoking are important preventive measures that can be taken for those at risk for CAD.

“Everyone should see a physician regularly to evaluate their risk factors for heart disease,” Lang added. “These risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking or having a family history of heart disease.”

The physicians of McLeod Cardiology Associates can evaluate risk factors for heart disease. Cardiologists Drs. Ryan Garbalosa and Dennis Lang and Electrophysiologist Dr. Prabal Guha provide care for patients at the McLeod Health Clarendon campus as well as in their Sumter office, 540 Physicians Lane. Appointments can be made in advance by calling (803) 883-5171.