Man avoids massive heart attack by following simple rule

If you're having chest pain it's best to see a doctor

SAN ANTONIO – No matter how healthy a person may seem they may still be at risk for a major heart event.

Health experts warn patients if there's ever any question you may be having a heart problem always err on the side of caution.

Dr. Bryan Bayles said he's alive today because he didn't hesitate to see a doctor when he started experiencing chest pain.

As curator of the HEB Body Adventure exhibit at the Witte Museum, Bayles helps promote health and wellness in the community. He believes his experience at the museum helped him recognize something was wrong. 

"I knew the signs. I felt sweaty and nauseous and I felt a sharp pain and I knew what was wrong," said Bayles. 

The event happened in April 2014. At the time, Bayles was 44 years old, practiced healthy living, was not overweight and didn't have a history of heart disease.

Although he didn't seem like a candidate for a heart attack, he went to the doctor to be safe.

His primary care doctor ran tests and found out one of the arteries in his heart was 99 percent blocked and he could have had a massive heart attack within a week if he didn't take action. 

"They call it the widow-maker and it's a major artery. So to have that blocked is not a good thing," said Bayles, "         

Experts admit it's easy to confuse signs of a heart attack with other issues, but it's not ever a bad idea to see a doctor.

"It may be something as simple as indigestion or acid reflux, but be safe any time you have chest pain. You definitely want to get that checked out," said Dr. Fred Cox University Health System director for Non-Invasive Cardiovascular Services

Bayles had a stent inserted into his heart and was back to work within a week.

Now he hopes his experience will help others.  

"If I can encourage one person to listen to their bodies and go and get things checked out, it really quite literally is a lifesaver," said Bayles.