In December of 2010, Scott Webb headed to his basement to work out — a part of his daily routine. While he was on the treadmill, Webb started to feel pressure and heaviness around his chest mixed with an overwhelming sense of nausea. As he reached down to press the stop button on the treadmill, he passed out.
“The next thing I know, I woke up on the floor. I had hit my head and was on the floor for about an hour. I somehow made it upstairs to tell my wife we had to go to the hospital.”
That chilling moment changed his life forever. Webb, a Canton resident, described himself as “being in the best shape of his life,” an active runner who not only ran several miles per week, but also participated in the Peachtree Road Race for 25 years. And yet, he was in the emergency room undergoing an echocardiogram on his heart and a nuclear stress test to see if the doctors were right about what they suspected.
The diagnosis was shocking. The doctors informed him that more than likely the fall to the ground restarted his heart. Webb had a 99-percent blockage in one of his arteries and needed a stent — a tiny wire mesh tube — to help open his artery and reduce the chances of having a heart attack.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 95 million U.S. adults age 20 or older have cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL— which is considered to be borderline high—could put them at risk of heart disease, and nearly 29 million adult Americans have total cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL3 which is considered to be high and could lead to strokes and other cardiovascular diseases.
The CDC also states high cholesterol has no symptoms, so many people don’t know their cholesterol is too high. It is imperative to get your levels checked as often as possible.
“It was incredulous that I could be in this situation,” Webb said. “That I had a blockage, that I almost had a heart attack was really hard to believe.”
Webb has a family history of high cholesterol, which means he is a natural producer of the waxy substance and as a result most of his blockage was heredity. His near-death experience prompted a change of lifestyle. Webb, a husband and father of two, said he didn’t go to the doctors that often to get his cholesterol checked — he does now. He takes his medication consistently, and he now eats fried food in moderation.
“You can’t outrun this,” he urges. “You need to make sure this is addressed. You need to make sure you go and see your doctor and make sure you understand your numbers and follow the doctor’s advice with medications and diet.”
Webb’s advice to anyone dealing with high cholesterol or has a family history of it is simple.
“What I have learned through this is you have to make sure you share with your doctor your family history,” said Webb.
“They have to know what has gone on with your parents, siblings and grandparents. This is really a life or death situation and you have to follow the recommended path that the doctor puts in front of you.”
As senior director at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Webb has had no issues or concerns since his scare nine years ago. He has been with the company for 28 years and leads the Customer Solutions Center for North America and Latin America.
On Nov. 2 Webb, along with another vice president at his company, will be leading — for the first time ever — a number of teams at the Northwest Georgia Heart Walk and 5K Heart Run in downtown Marietta.
“So far 150 people are participating in the run and walk. We are leading teams, exercising and raising funds for research to prevent life-threatening things when it comes to heart diseases and strokes,” Webb said.
Webb said the employees at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise are striving to raise $10,000 this year. His company will also match their contribution.
The Northwest Georgia Heart Walk and 5K Heart Run will be Saturday, Nov. 2, at 8 a.m. in Marietta Square. Nearly 1 million people walk each year to help cure heart disease and stroke. The Heart Walk and Run is among 300 events being held in communities across the nation. Individuals and teams can register online at www.metroatlantaheartwalk.org.
“I am extremely proud,” Webb said. “I think humble at the same time, yet very thankful that I am in this position. If this could impact even one person’s life to go to the doctor and change their future because of this — it’s worth it.”