DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A local man who survived a widowmaker heart attack has a message for others

“I get 10,000 steps a day,” said Vincente Torres about his fitness regime since surviving his widowmaker. “I make sure my wife takes care of herself. I make sure my son takes care of himself,” he told CBS 11 News. “I could have left them because i wasn’t leading by example.”

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A day after Father’s Day, Torres had a rude awakening. “I woke up and became extremely nauseous,” he said.

Ignoring his painful symptoms wasn’t an option.

“The pain is like a vice in the front and back crushing you,” he said, describing the pain.

When he arrived at the  ER, Dr. John Lee, cardiologist at Texas Health Allen told him he was having a heart attack. And not just any heart attack… it was the deadly kind, that affects young men and women. Some do not even make it to the ER, hence the name.

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Torres considered himself lucky.

The widowmaker heart attack happens when there is a total blockage of the LAD- the Left Anterior Descending Artery in the heart. It stops the blood flow to that part of the heart. Dr. Lee put a stent in the artery to open it up to allow for the blood flow in Torres’ body.

Torres also found out he had diabetes. Diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are all risk factors for heart disease.

Torres changed his lifestyle after the wakeup call. He is down 40 pounds since June. His wife and son have lost weight too.

“All of that from eating healthier making better choices,” he said.

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Symptoms for the heart attack include shortness of breath, pain in the left arm and serious chest pain. Other symptoms you can’t ignore, especially if you have these risk factors are gas and acid reflux.