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Feb 7, 2013 8:58 PM by Victoria Fregoso-Q2 News

Heart attack survivor says you must act fast

BILLINGS-Heart attacks are a life changing event. For Lisa Heiser, the evening of November 24 2012, is a day she will never forget. "I just got out of the tub and I started having these chest pains. And I went to go lay down, thinking it was going to go away and it never did. Then I was told we're going the hospital because they thought I was having a heart attack," Heiser said.

At just 44 years old, with no history of heart disease in her family and being in good health, the thought of having a heart attack never crossed her mind. Since then, Lisa's outlook on life has completely changed. "I take one day at a time. I'm very thankful to be here. They told me, if I was going to be a half hour later, I would of died."

When it comes to heart attacks, time is everything. "Her family really absolutely wasted no time in getting her to medical attention," said Billings Clinic Cardiologist Ronny Jiji.

More than a month after the heart attack, Lisa began having neck pains and severe headaches. This lead doctors to the cause of the heart attack, a rare condition called Fibro Muscular Dysplasia. "It's an abnormal growth of tissue in the middle part of the arterial wall. And it can make patients prone to dissection or tears in the arteries."

Doctors discovered Lisa had tears in two arteries along her neck. Now Lisa is doing everything she can, to reduce the risk of another heart attack. "I really watch what I eat now. I haven't been able to go into exercising like I used to do because they haven't Okayed that yet."

Dr. Jiji said she tells all of her patients "We'll do everything we can do to help you but you have to do something to help yourself as well."

Some common symptoms of a heart attack are:
-Pain or pressure in the chest
-Feeling short of breath
-Pains in the neck, back and arms
-Feeling tired or weak.

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