Feb 25, 2014 8:32 AM by Kristen Holloway
Imagine if you had no major health issues your entire life, and then, one day, that all changed because of a heart attack.
64-year-old, USA Boxing Hall-of-Famer Beau Williford is a man who followed a healthy diet and exercised but still became a victim of heart disease.
He suffered a heart attack last October and doesn't remember anything until he woke up two weeks later. Luckily, his son had just come home. Otherwise, things might've turned out different.
"If Alex hadn't come home when he did, I probably would have died," said Williford.
Just three months ago, Williford told his son to Google signs of a heart attack because he was having severe chest pains.
"I went in the kitchen and took some aspirin, and he asked me why I wanted him to do that, and I said I feel like I just got hit in the chest with a sledge hammer," said Williford.
A few minutes later, Williford had turned blue and was having a massive heart attack. His son called 911, and the operator coached him through CPR over the phone.
"I thought my heart was absolutely perfect. I started smoking when I was 32, and I think that's what did it," said WIlliford.
According to Williford, family members told him he died on the way to hospital.
"They brought the defibrillator machine to his side, and they shocked him a number of times and ultimately got him alive to the hospital," said Dr. Charles Wyatt, cardiovascular surgeon at Regional Medical Center.
Williford had to undergo a quintuple bypass open heart surgery and was placed in ICU in a medically-induced coma.
"You can have heart disease and you can have enough blockage where you can collapse from sudden cardiac arrest and you never have any warning signs," said Dr. Wyatt. "That's the case in nearly 30% of people."
Today, Coach Williford is back on his feet coaching boxing.
As a matter of fact, he participated in the American Heart walk just five weeks after his surgery.
"I saw people down there and they were in really bad shape, and I said I can do it and I'll be able to make it," said Williford. "Within a month month-and-a-half, I felt absolutely magnificent, and I feel great today."
Doctor Wyatt says to avoid heart disease, you should exercise, have a healthy diet, avoid tobacco, and not ignore pain in your chest. He also recommends getting a heart screening, especially if heart disease is in your family.
Dr. Wyatt also says once you are a heart patient, you are always a heart patient. Regular checkups are a must if you've had heart surgery.