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"I couldn't breathe when it was happening. I had never experienced anything like that before," said Lansing resident Archie Lake, 68, as he recalled what he experienced before a heart catheterization procedure in November 2010 at Sparrow's Heart and Vascular Center. The results from the procedure revealed that Lake had blockage in his heart.

Heart disease runs in Lake's family. Both of his parents endured through heart problems, but he said he is confident that he is going to end the cycle. African American men are 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease, as compared to non-Hispanic white men, according to a 2007 statistic from the U.S. Office of Minority Health. Lake said he and his wife, who also suffers from heart problems, have committed to exercising more and eating better. And, he said he has removed fried and fatty foods from his diet.

"I've been reading up on some things. Diabetes is connected. High cholesterol is connected. It's settling in more now: you can have a healthy heart," he said. Lake doesn't plan on taking any more chances with his heart, but if he does have another episode he knows he can rely on the experience, knowledge and caring nature of the staff at Sparrow to help him through. "I consider Sparrow the top," he said.