Young heart failure patients give warning - don't ignore symptom - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Young heart failure patients give warning - don't ignore symptoms

MESA, AZ (CBS5) -

When you think about people at risk for heart failure, you don't imagine a young athlete. Or a healthy father of 10. But these people's lives have been turned upside down after learning that a healthy lifestyle doesn't guarantee you'll be in the clear. 

Chas Damo, 23, who's used to surfing, mountain biking, and running, now works out at Banner Desert Medical Center. 

"Knowing I had this, scares me knowing I could've died at any moment," said Damo.

After experiencing chest pains, Damo was told he had asthma. But after more tests, he learned he had a heart defect. 

"They basically opened me up, re-implanted my artery to follow its correct route," Damo said.

"The doctor says if I didn't have it done, I wouldn't be here," said Kevin Young, a father of 10. He had triple bypass surgery in October. He admittedly didn't always eat the healthiest food, but said he never saw this coming.

"My little brother's bigger than me, " Young said. "[I was] wondering why, not being mean, but why didn't this happen to him?"

"We can be very surprised how someone who can seem very healthy can end up having heart problems," said the director of the cardiac rehab center, David Kassel. He said smokers, diabetics, and people with a family history of heart problems are at highest risk.  He said it's important for people to not ignore any symptoms and - you guessed it - exercise and eat healthy.

"If I went with that asthma situation I could've died," Damo said.
 
Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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