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“I couldn’t stand up or walk,” shares 77-year old Clifford Stout of just how badly his health had deteriorated by the end of 2014. “I was on oxygen 24/7. I was literally dying.” With severe shortness of breath, Clifford believed he faced two major health problems: a COPD diagnosis and a leaky mitral valve that had been getting gradually worse over the last 20 years. He was hospitalized multiple times in a short three-month period for heart failure. Today, Clifford heads to the gym three times a week, mows his own lawn and credits his team at Oklahoma Heart Institute (OHI) and a new... Read More »

February is Heart Month, and it gives us the opportunity to not only talk about heart health, but hear other people’s own stories. On National Wear Red Day, the Rogers County Sherriff’s Office shared a story that told the side of living with heart disease from a spouse’s perspective. It begins, “The following is a fairy tale.” Told through the lens of Major Coy Jenkins, it is a story that sheds light on the reality that heart disease can strike when you least expect it. Major Jenkins’ wife, Marti, has had six heart catheterizations, two stents and one angioplasty since the day of her heart... Read More »

“I was just sitting here one morning and felt a little funny,” Vernon Sander, 71, recalls of a day in the spring of 2010 that didn’t begin like most. Enjoying retirement, Vernon and his wife were just a few weeks away from an anticipated trip to Europe. When he became nauseous, Vernon says a strong feeling came over him. “I told my wife, ‘I’m having a heart attack.’ Why I knew, I don’t know.”

They immediately drove to Hillcrest South, and not as you may expect a heart attack patient to arrive; Vernon walked into the hospital and told the staff he was having a heart attack. “I was... Read More »

Heart disease doesn’t have a “look.” If it did, Master Sergeant Chris Clifton, 42, certainly wouldn’t fit the description. Last October, his unit – the 219th Engineering Installation Squadron with the 138th Fighter Wing of the Tulsa Air National Guard – was scheduled to deploy to Japan. Clifton had given up his spot, so that a younger airman could gain that experience. That meant he was home to complete his upcoming annual physical training test required by the Air Force. “I was feeling good that morning,” he recalls. “No indication of anything odd that would have led me to think a heart-... Read More »

As a busy, working mother and wife, Gail Elliott found her health had taken a back seat to caring for others and juggling priorities. "I’m your average, middle aged, working mom,” she adds. “I always put my children and husband before myself. I justified my weight by all the responsibilities that I had and was always ‘waiting for the right time.’” The truth is no one was waiting to tap Gail on the shoulder to let her know now is the time. “I finally realized in May of 2015 that there will never be a ‘right time’ and that it will only get worse as time goes on. I had finally had enough and... Read More »

They are daily decisions, but they add up and influence our heart health years for years to come. What we eat can either be of great help or great hindrance to our cardiovascular health, according to new findings. First, a recent study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, says that the amount of fruits and vegetables we eat as young adults can help prevent heart disease as many as two decades later. Second, a small study in Kentucky suggests a poor diet can inflict early signs of heart disease in children. When it comes to heart disease, there are factors we can... Read More »

“I told the guys I would be back in two hours,” 53-year-old Bill Calkins remembers telling his crew at work as he left for his annual physical in Skiatook. The project manager of a superfund site stayed up-to-date on his physicals and felt in pretty good health walking into the clinic. “If anything, I noticed I was slightly short of breath.” Going over his blood results, Bill’s primary care physician was wrapping up the appointment, when he asked, “Hey Bill, you’re in your mid-50s. When was the last time you had an EKG?” Bill thought the last time would have been when he was in the service... Read More »

Oklahoma Heart Institute cardiologist Dr. Mathew Good’s wife, Bethany, joins us on the blog today with their family’s favorite game day foods.

In the Good house, fall means OSU football. And the Broncos. And the Royals. And then starting each November, KU basketball. Can you tell we love our sports around here?  Our kids literally wake up on the weekend and ask which team shirt they need to wear that day. Cheering on our teams is definitely a family event. A perfect Saturday would be spent tailgating in Stillwater, but life, busy schedules and three little ones don’t always make... Read More »

Anyone living with diabetes is at an increased risk of heart disease, whether that be suffering a heart attack or stroke. However, new research finds that women who have diabetes are 40 percent more likely to have a heart attack than men who have diabetes. “Two studies presented at the European Association of the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting confirm what we have suspected clinically for some time,” shares Oklahoma Heart Institute endocrinologist Dr. Cristin Bruns. “What is even more astounding is that the increased risk appears to start as young as age 45.”   Dr. Bruns says, although it... Read More »

“I’ve played football my whole life basically,” 17-year old William McKenney shares from his Tulsa home on a humid August afternoon. In just a few short hours, he will return to Booker T. Washington High School for six hours of pre-season football practice. “I love it. You’ve got to love the game to play it. I love the game.” The senior safety doesn’t mind putting in the work. After all, this is arguably the most important season of his career. “After high school I’d like to go on and if I get the opportunity to play college football and move onto the next level and play in the NFL, I’ll... Read More »