LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Kentucky and around the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three Louisville brothers are sharing their story this heart month, in hopes of saving someone's life.
The King brothers have a lot in common. They come from a big southern family who love to laugh and are big sports fans.
"I was walking out of the Yum Center, and I was short of breath," 71-year-old Jerry King said.
They also all have a history of heart problems. "I let my health go," 60-year-old David King said.
"I just didn't feel right. I didn't feel like I was having a heart attack because I didn't know what a heart attack felt like," 58-year-old Larry King said.
Both of their parents had heart disease. Six of the seven siblings have heart issues. Their brother, Steve, had a heart attack in his 40s. He passed away last year of lymphoma.
Larry was the next to notice a problem while vacationing at the lake. "Got to the hospital, and they immediately hooked me up to all the monitors and basically said, 'he's in cardiac arrest,'" Larry said.
He was flown to Louisville. "He said, 'you remember going to sleep?' I said, 'yeah. It was real peaceful.' He said, 'well, look at your chest,' and I had two red almost blisters. He said, 'you didn't go to sleep,'" Larry said.
His heart stopped. Two stents later and healthy, Larry goes to annual doctor appointments. "If you're out there and you've got family history, you can be in the best shape that you're ever in, and you could still possibly have heart disease," Larry said.
That's why Jerry was on watch. "What's interesting about all of us and that anyone watching this is that the symptoms can all be different," Jerry said.
Stents to repair a blocked artery and two years later, he was in more pain. "That was, for me, the beginning of the next journey which was open heart surgery," Jerry said.
He's passing on a lesson. "Even after stents and you think you're fine, things close down. In that two year period, I had four arteries that closed down that needed to be replaced," Jerry said.
The lesson is for anyone who will listen, including his younger brother, David who had chest pains. "I'm thinking, eh I'm okay, back to work. I'm an early riser, work all day, do what it takes, and finally Larry said, you've got to go see Dr. Fahsah,' David said.
"They have high blood pressure, and they have high cholesterol, and you need to curtail that early in your life until waiting until you're 50 or 60, and you're too late," says Dr. Ibrahim Fahsah, Cardiologist for Norton Healthcare.
A heart catheterization revealed blockage for this brother too. He just completed a cardio rehab program and is on medication. "If I could give anybody any advice, that's what I would tell them. Pay attention to the signs because if you have it in the family, if it's hereditary, then you really need to curtail it, and I'm teaching that to my kids," David said.
Three tough guys' guys are sharing their heart journey in hopes that people listen. "If there's one person out there that sees this and hears this and gets the message, then we've helped someone," David said.
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