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Woman has 'silent heart attack' during run

By Angela Yingling
Published On: Nov 05 2013 05:10:47 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 06 2013 11:29:48 AM CST

She works out for an hour a day, she eats right and doesn't smoke, but Sue Hopkins had a heart attack and didn't even know it.

She works out for an hour a day, she eats right and doesn't smoke, but Sue Hopkins had a heart attack and didn't even know it.

During a run in May, a pain stopped her in her tracks. "I had finished a three-mile run and I had a catch. I stopped running and it went away, then I finished the run."

The pain came back again that night. Hopkins said it felt like a sharp pain that lasted a few minutes. The pain went away again and she went back to bed.

Two days after the initial pain Hopkins went to the doctor's office. They did an EKG and immediately sent her to the ER -- it turns out she had a heart attack and didn't know it. "I remember saying, 'I've already had a heart attack,'" she said, "because I thought I could stop it."

Cardiologist Dr. Marc Mayhew calls her incident a 'silent heart attack' and despite her healthy habits, Sue Hopkins was now a heart patient. "Heart attacks spare no one. They occur suddenly, that's why they're called attacks," says Dr. Mayhew.

But because she works out, eats right and doesn't smoke, her recovery may have been easier than other patients. "Because she takes such good care of herself with one closed artery, the remaining two arteries sent what we called collateral flow to that one artery."

Hopkins bounced back quickly. In fact, just a few months later, she and her husband made their way to Glacier National Park where they hiked and took in the scenery.

It's a big change from where she was just a few months earlier.