MINNEAPOLIS - The Vikings community is grieving after Offensive Line Coach Tony Sparano unexpectedly died Sunday at his home.
There are reports Sparano, 56, visited the hospital with chest pains last week, had some tests done, and was sent home.
On Monday, the medical examiner's report was released, stating that Sparano's cause of death was heart disease.
Dr. Michelle Carlson, a Hennepin Healthcare cardiologist, gave KARE 11 some important reminders about heart health.
She says chest pain could be a symptom for a slew of things.
“Like you hurt your muscle, pulled a muscle while lifting or you could have a cold,” Carlson said.
However, she suggests everyone take it seriously and go to the ER or call your primary care physician.
“Things we worry about the most are the things that can cause you to die," she said.
She says hospital ERs have a protocol that they follow before clearing you to go home.
“They are told if chest pain occurs or these symptoms develop these are signs you should come back," Carlson said. "The problem with medicine is your body changes from day to day and I can evaluate you today, I could do a stress test on you and everything looks beautiful but you could still have plaque that then ruptures and tomorrow you could have a heart attack. There’s no predicting that based on the test I do today."
She says a couple of symptoms of a heart attack are shortness of breath and tightness or discomfort in the chest. There are ways to prevent a heart attack but she say you might need to make a long term change.
“If you smoke, quit smoking. That’s the number one thing to do," she said. "The next thing to do is exercise, be active, and that will improve both your heart health and lung health over the long term. And then diet is a huge thing."
Carlson also says if you go to an ER for chest pain and think it's heart-related, you should then go see your primary care doctor about what to do next.