It’s well-known heart disease is the No. 1 health-related killer of Americans. But not so well known is that Hispanics and Latinos face even higher risks of cardiovascular diseases. That’s because they have a higher likelihood of having high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
Isaac Plasencio of Broomfield, Colo. experienced this reality first-hand. One night in December 2014, he started feeling “off”.
“I felt like I had the flu. My hand was numb, I thought I slept on it wrong. What really threw me off, was the pain in my jaw,” said Plasencio.
The 41-year-old didn’t know it at the time but he was having a heart attack.
After Plasencio felt numbness in his left arm, he and his wife quickly rushed to the nearest hospital. They were met by DeeAnn Rivera, MD, a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente Rock Creek Medical Offices in Colorado.
“The blood tests confirmed that (Isaac) had a heart attack, albeit a warning shot,” said Dr. Rivera.
Within a few hours of arriving at the hospital, Plasencio underwent surgery to have a stent placed in one of his arteries.
“It was a wake-up call. You take life for granted sometimes,” the father-of-three said.
Plasencio is on the path to better health now and he’s also trying to encourage his entire family to join him. He and his daughter go to the gym together on a frequent, if not daily, basis.
February is National American Heart Month and Plasencio’s story serves as a timely reminder that it’s never too early to start a proper diet and exercise routine— whether it’s for your heart, significant other, children, or just for the health of it.