CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kicking off an awareness campaign to save lives; Carolinas HealthCare system has a very simple message for Charlotte men: what you don't know will kill you.
High blood pressure and heart disease are the number one killers of men in the Carolinas.
Dr. Larry Raymond treats heart attack patients and knows that most men "don't make their health a very high priority”.
Every day in Charlotte, men suffer heart attacks; most will not feel any symptoms or get clues one is about to strike. No one has ever told Dr. Raymond he knew he was about to have a massive heart attack.
Dr. Raymond goes on to say, "Of course, many of the heart attacks you don't survive because you develop a chaotic rhythm that can't sustain life-- unless you get resuscitated immediately... you're a goner."
"I was actually at a baseball field," said Dink Nolan.
He remembers it well. Three years ago while coaching his son's baseball game, Dink had a heart attack. He was 46. Dink was rushed to the very hospital where he works, and was told he needed a triple bypass.
"And I was like I'm having triple bypass? So they kept me a couple of days to let my heart heal a little and then a week from the time I had my heart attack until I had the bypass," Dink said.
After months of rehab, Dink is now back at work in supplies management for Carolinas HealthCare System.
Knowing your cholesterol numbers, keeping track of your blood pressure and just plain seeing a doctor are all critical to a man's health, but that's no secret. Most men know that. Dink knew that better than most; his father had a heart attack at age 56.
Dink adds, "So the big advice is when you do feel those twinges or pains, make sure you’re going to the doctor."
Now slimmer and having quit smoking, Dink is grateful for a second chance at life. His hope is that more men won't wait to take control of their health.
"Making sure your spouse knows she's loved, helping her out, being there for my boys, I was on the ball field, but I can't be there if I'm not taking care of myself, so I have to protect the protector," Nolan said.