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Jan. 12, 2003 Newpaper article!

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Lisa Salberg Find out more about Lisa Salberg
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  • Jan. 12, 2003 Newpaper article!

    Published: Sunday, January 12, 2003

    Widow urges tests for heart ailment

    Thickening of heart claims life of popular Edmonds grocery manager

    By Bill Sheets
    For The Herald

    EDMONDS -- Linda Rodriguez would love it if no one else ever had to die the way her husband did.

    Heart information

    For more on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, see www.4hcm.org.


    Jorge Rodriguez died at age 35 of a rare heart disorder he and his wife didn't even know about.

    "It disturbs me how many people might be walking around with this wrong with them," Linda Rodriguez said.

    Jorge Rodriguez was a popular store manager at the Top Foods in Edmonds. In the early morning hours of Oct. 25, Jorge Rodriguez was working the late shift when he was found unconscious.

    He died of cardiac arrest, apparently from a heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The condition is characterized by excessive thickening of the heart muscle without apparent cause.

    After learning about the cause of her husband's death, his wife began studying up on disease.

    It's genetic, it takes a special test to detect it, and it can have symptoms not unique to the disease, according to the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association Web site, www.4hcm.org.

    There is no known cure, but drugs can lessen its effects, and in more advanced cases surgery, pacemakers and implanted defibrillators may be used.

    Hope for the future centers around research on ways to detect the gene and treating individuals who have it to prevent the development of hypertrophy, according to the association.

    Rodriguez hopes anyone with symptoms will get tested for the disease.

    "It's been very difficult losing him," she said.

    Employees say many customers have noticed Rodriguez's absence. He had worked there for nearly six years. His photo remains on the wall for winning grocery manager of the quarter.

    About 280 people attended his funeral, his wife said.

    Jorge Rodriguez did have some health issues, having been partially paralyzed on his right side, his wife said, adding he was 6 feet 2 inches and 270 pounds, but mostly healthy.

    "I can tell you he was a fantastic guy," said Julie Burke, who worked with Rodriguez.

    "He would go out of his way to help anybody," perishables store manager Everett Christman said.
    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

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