One morning in early 2007 Lansing resident Jesse Lopez, 61, woke with pain in his jaw and left shoulder. A diabetic, Lopez didn't feel like himself. He thought after a shower and his morning medications, he might feel better. "That didn't seem to alleviate my pain, so I took myself to St. Lawrence, and they weren't happy with my results, so they sent me to the main campus on Michigan Avenue. There, they determined I had a heart attack," he said.
The medical staff at the heart and vascular center discovered that a significant number of arteries were blocked, and decided that quadruple bypass – or open heart – surgery was the best course of action. Surprisingly, the actual surgery itself wasn't the most emotional part of Lopez's experience. Instead, he said it was wrapping his mind around the fact that he actually had a heart attack.
Having both diabetes and hypertension, Lopez was in a higher risk category for a heart attack. Adult Hispanic Americans are 10 percent less likely to have heart disease than non-Hispanic Americans, but that percentage has narrowed from 30 percent in 2007, according to the U.S. Office of Minority Health. "A lot of times you can feel as healthy as an ox, but you don't know what's going on inside of you, including your heart," Lopez said.
Today, he attends cardiac rehabilitation at Sparrow three times a week, and he is getting stronger every day. "I'm doing well. Everything's just great, and it's all because of Sparrow," Lopez said.