Local doctors are hopeful people will take notice of the recent high profile health problems experienced by two NFL coaches.
Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke this past Sunday and Denver Broncos head coach John Fox just had heart valve replacement surgery this week.
Doctors say strokes and heart disease have nearly identical risk factors and both can be prevented if patients take better care of themselves and listen to their bodies.
For Kubiak, it was a frightening episode as he fell to the field in pain as was heading to the locker room at halftime.
Team doctors said he experienced a mini-stroke which is caused by a brief interruption of blood flow to the brain, typically the result of a blood clot.
Dr. Dicky Huey, a neurologist and medical director of Baptist Health System's Brain and Stroke Network said mini-strokes are warning signs that are frequently ignored.
"Those are important because a lot of times people will have the symptoms and they'll go away and so they'll ignore them," Huey said. "The risk is, if they go untreated, there's about a 17 percent risk that you'll have another event or bigger event in the next 90 days."
Kubiak was rushed to a hospital for treatment and is recovering from the episode. Huey said all stroke victims need quick intervention.
"Time is urgent. You need to call 911 and be transported to the nearest stroke designated hospital," Huey said. "The faster that you get there, the higher your chances are that you'll be able to be treated with the so called clot buster medication and help dissolve the clot."
Huey said strokes can be prevented the same way heart disease can, it comes down to knowing your risk factors which include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and your family history. He said it's important to remember strokes can affect patients of all ages.
"We're seeing more and more (patients) in their 30's and 40's now that have strokes, but the older you get the higher your risks are," Huey said. "Smoking doubles your risk that you might have heart attack or stroke."
Cardiologist Dr. Landon Wellford said it's easier to fix heart problems than it is to repair the damage caused by a stroke.
"If you block an artery and take a third of your heart out I can take care of that, there's medicines we can do, stints, we can put in heart valves, we can get around that," Wellford said. "If you lose a third of your brain there's not much I can help you with."
Both health problems require patients to learn their risks and realize they aren't indestructible, something we can all learn from the NFL coaches and their recent high-profile episodes.
"NFL coaches are God-like figures and for God to have a heart attack or stroke it shakes a lot of people, so this is a great opportunity for people to reassess," Wellford said. "If you have blood pressure issues, get your blood pressure taken care of. If you are diabetic, watch what you eat and take your medicines. If you smoke, stop. If your cholesterol is high, watch what you eat."
The bottom line is it's up to you to take care of your body to avoid problems down the road.
"It's much easier to prevent something than to take care of the aftermath," Wellford said. "Surgeons are great, they do a great job, but it's still up to the individual and a little bit of chance to have a good recovery."