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Bringing awareness to Heart Disease

President Barack Obama has named February as American Heart Month.

According to the American Heart Association, Heart Disease is the number one killer of American men and women.

Krissy Miles knows the dreadful disease all too well.

Miles was born with a heart defect.

“It was something at the time that the doctors just mentioned, we'll keep track of it. But when I was about 33 years old my prognosis progressed to something really severe,” she said.

It developed into an aortic aneurysm.

Miles underwent open heart surgery immediately.

She said the recovery was tough, but is relieved she had been getting regular checkups with her doctor. She said her condition could have killed her.

“Probably I would have died. Yeah. That's pretty much the prognosis for that kind of a thing,” Miles explained.

Now Miles goes to the gym three times a week and does yoga.

She is on a mission to stay healthy and wants others to become proactive about maintaining a healthy heart as well.

“You need to be your own best advocate when it comes to your healthcare,” she said.

Cardiologists at Memorial Hospital in South Bend highlighted major risk factors of heart disease.

“Cigarette smoking and we can all improve by stopping smoking, family history which is an important risk factor and so far we can't do anything to change that. High blood pressure, so we want to find out if we have high blood pressure and if we do take our medicine to control it,” Cardiologist Ronald Nelson explained.

He said diabetes and high cholesterol also put people at higher risk.

Doctors recommend people 18 and older in good health check their blood pressure and cholesterol at least once every five years.

Others, especially men 55 years or older and those with diseases should get a check up every year.

“Try to keep our weight down, watch our diet, emphasize fruits and vegetables, see your doctor for routine checkups at least every five years. And if you're older or have disease, it's got to be much more often,” Dr. Nelson said. 
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