Palm Harbor, Fla. (WFLA) - Eight million heart attacks happen each year in the United States but Ben Kugler of Palm Harbor, Florida, never thought he would be one of those statistics.
His heart attack came right after Hurricane Irma last year. He was recovering from prostate surgery when he started having chest pains.
Kugler shrugged off the pain. At age 69, he had never had any heart issues. But when the pain started shooting down his arm, through his jaw and ears, he told his wife who immediately wanted to call 911.
"I'm laying here and the pain level, it's like there's an elephant on my chest," Kugler says. Paramedics arrived and started giving him nitroglycerin. "I was scared. I thought I was going to die."
Turns out, one of Kugler's main arteries was nearly completely blocked. He needed a stent.
After that, he dramatically changed his diet and made a new and intense commitment to exercise.
Now, one year later, Kugler is in great physical shape. His advice to others is to listen to their bodies and be proactive, not reactive.