A Michigan woman shows us that just because you feel fine, doesn't mean you are.
"I was doing morning walk and all of a sudden my ears started hurting. I thought, "This can’t be good. I might have to go to doctor for ear infection,'" Lily Skaug remembers. She was in her late 50s, so she figured she knew the symptoms of an ear infection. But guess what?
The Shelby Township woman was actually having a heart attack -- and had no idea.
She didn't know until St. John Macomb cardiologist Sindhu Koshy quickly diagnosed her. She says Lilly's ear pain was actually jaw pain.
"'Lilly, you've had a heart attack. We need to take you to the cath lab,'" Dr. Koshy remembers saying. "She looked at me like I was completely crazy and basically said, 'No, we can't go today. I have a lot of things to do. I need to go home and get those things taken care of, but I'll come back anytime you want and we can do this procedure, but I don't think I've had a heart attack. This is in my ears.'"
Dr. Koshy finally does convince Lily to get in the cath lab immediately, where she finds a blood vessel blocked more than 90 percent. Her bad cholesterol was sky high and probably contributed to the heart attack.
"I had a 95 percent blockage, and I had no idea anything was wrong," Lily says. "I was not very good about watching my cholesterol and everything like that. I just, didn't, because I felt good; I felt fine."
That's the real message. You may feel good, but that doesn't mean your heart is healthy.
"She didn't feel bad. She didn't know that anything was wrong, and that's why a lot of times we say you need to go in for an annual physical," says Dr. Koshy.
"If I would have known if as bad as they were, yes, I could have done something and maybe avoided the whole situation," Lily says.
Now, she is doing very well and keeping track of her cholesterol. All her levels are back in check, thanks to her life changes and medication.
You can learn your number at our healthy heart project. It's a free heart check at two St. John Providence locations Saturday morning. You can find more information on that here.