WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Every thirty-four seconds someone reportedly dies from heart disease in our country.
But for those who live to tell about it, recovery can be a wonderful opportunity to share what they did right.
Jim Ingles made a split-second decision that saved his life.
When the 58-year-old Jesup man started having chest pains riding with his cousin, he opted not to go straight to the hospital.
"I was feeling pretty bad so I told him why don't you drive me up to where the ambulances are at the fire station," said Jim.
Paramedics took him to Waterloo's Covenant Medical Center as he was having a massive heart attack.
Smart move says Candy Steele, the manager of cardiac rehab.
"You can't have your wife take you. You can't have your friends take you to the hospital. They don't have the resources available in the car to help you. So it's very important that an ambulance comes and the ambulance has oxygen and iv's and medications that the patient can have," said Steele.
Steele helps patients like Jim who survive a heart attack or other cardiac problems recover.
She says prevention is about much more than exercise.
"A lot of people think that if you just exercise that you're safe and you're good with everything, but it's not true because there are a lot of other factors considered when it comes to a heart attack," said Steele.
Jim says he now gets that message.
"Just take care of yourself because it can sneak up on you even when you think you're pretty healthy," said Jim.
Thanks to cardiac rehab, Jim says he's building up his strength as he's learning to slow down.
Jim is back teaching collision repair and refinishing at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo.
Tara Thomas: Online reporter/Anchor