Friends For Life: Coming Back From Heart Disease

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – The silent killer – heart disease is the no. 1 killer of men in the United States.

It claims the lives of more than a half a million men in America every year.

6 News Sports Reporter/Anchor Jay Sarkar has the story of a man who almost became part of that statistic when he died in the hospital, but incredibly was revived by doctors.

Now the man has taken steps to regain his health and he’s making the most of his “second chance at life.”

“I’ve had two surgeries, 14 cardio versions…a mini-stroke, I flat-lined.”

Rick Wendorf began his battle with atrial fibrillation or A-fib at the end of 2010 and battle may be an understatement.

“I went in for an endoscope and that’s when they found out that my heart rate was about 275. I was on the verge of having a stroke. We had tried many times, through many medicines and um several cardio versions uh to try to uh get my heart to stay in a sinus rhythm,” said Rick Wendorf.

From flat-lining on the operating table to leading the Lansing Heart Walk this year, Wendorf has decided to give back and spread awareness for the cause.

“I thought that was very important that we need to make that more aware that just what’s on the outside is not always what’s on the inside and I think I really, I can’t stress that enough.”

Since his diagnosis five years ago, Wendorf has changed his lifestyle.

“I don’t eat like I used to, I try to watch what I eat…for the most time, I do treat myself a lot, but I’m gonna tell ya, I eat a lot of salads and red wine.”

Heart disease is known as the silent killer, says the Center for Disease Control. About 610,000 Americans die from it each year. Wendorf lost both his grandmother and his uncle to the disease.

“You need to know your family history and if you’ve had more than one or two people in your family that have died from heart disease, a heart attack stroke um you know embolisms that sort of thing you need to really uh be aware yourself um and you need to really be on top of your health.”

Seeing your doctor regularly, getting blood tests performed, staying physically active and eating right are just a few of rick’s helpful hints to avoid the number one killer in America.

The sad thing is sometimes they start taking care of themselves when it’s too late and all you’re doing is buying time, you’re not buying quality of life, buy the quality of life while you still are able to.

A-fib is a battle Wendorf is fighting, one step at a time.

“It makes me appreciate every day even more because every day is a gift.”

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