Chesterfield heart attack survivor who misread own symptoms urges others to be aware

A Chesterfield dad-of-two is urging others to be aware of the symptoms after surviving a major heart attack just a few weeks ago.

Friday, 25th February 2022, 10:14 am
Updated Friday, 25th February 2022, 10:15 am

A recovering alcoholic, Gary Topley has not touched a drop for 13 years and is a regular in the gym, training up to four times a week.

So, when he began sweating profusely and generally feeling under the weather, the 43-year-old figured he had just been working out too hard and took painkillers hoping that it would soon pass.

However, weeks later Gary suffered a major heart attack and is now hoping to raise awareness of the early symptoms in a bid to encourage others not to ignore them as he did.

Gary Topley pictured right, in the ambulance being transferred to Sheffield after his heart attack and left, when he began sweating profusely

He said: "I was quite fit and my diet was relatively OK; I was doing what I normally did, probably having a takeaway or a fry up once a week or every other week. I don’t drink or smoke.

"About a month before my heart attack I started sweating a lot.

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"I thought I’d probably just been lifting too heavy, that’s what I put it down to and I didn’t think anything of it. Then I started getting pains down my left arm, like a dull ache, it was like pins and needles but it was staying there and wouldn’t go away.

Gary Topley is urging others not to ignore the warning signs after experiencing a major heart attack earlier this month aged 43

"The previous November, I’d torn my rotator cuff – a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint – so I put it down to that.”

Gary said he did seek advice from NHS 111 although claims they dismissed his symptoms.

But, he knew something was seriously wrong after being awakened at around 6am on February 1, with similar pains he could not shift.

Twenty-five minutes after arriving at Chesterfield Royal Hospital that Tuesday, Gary suffered his heart attack and was told he could have easily died. He later underwent surgery twice to fit stents in his arteries.

Issuing advice to others, he said: “If you’ve got any of the symptoms don’t hesitate to go and get checked out. In hindsight, I should have gone to hospital as soon as I’d got pains.”

For more on the symptoms of a heart attack visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/heart-attack/symptoms/.

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