Woman's heart attack leads to healthy lifestyle changes

Published: Feb. 27, 2018 at 7:23 AM CST
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The end of February means the end of American Heart Month, but that doesn't mean you should forget about your heart health.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease remains the leading global cause of death with nearly 18 million deaths each year.

Doctors at Mercy Medical Center say heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women.

Symptoms can include a tightness in the chest, neck, or back,

fatigue or even light headiness.

And this month is still a reminder that paying attention to your heart health is not only important but as Lisa Livingston, a patient at Mercy tells us, it can actually save lives.

Lisa is currently undergoing cardiac rehab at Mercy Medical Center.

Three days a week she comes to the rehab center and walks on the treadmill or pedals on the bike.

Just two months ago Lisa was rushed to the hospital for a blocked artery.

It happened on Christmas Eve when she was home with her daughter.

She wasn't feeling well and all of a sudden she collapsed.

"I blacked out and what they tell us is that my dog started barking and it pulled my daughter out of her room and she then called my husband who was on his way home already and then she called 911," Lisa said.

Doctors at Mercy placed two stents in her blocked artery to open it up and keep blood flowing.

Before her heart attack, Lisa admits she ate a lot of fast food and she wasn't managing her diabetes.

Lisa also has diabetes which, Dr. Cam Campbell, a cardiologist says increases her chances of heart disease.

"It's the sort of thing you can have diabetes for maybe 5, 10, 20 years and think that you can play with it, have the snicker bar every now and then or what have you but in the long run that will catch up with you in the end so daily control is very important in terms of mitigating the risk of diabetes causing heart attacks," Dr. Campbell said.

Doctor Campbell says other things you can do to lower your risk is quit smoking if you're a smoker.

Exercise regularly at least 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes a day.

They say it's also important to cut down on fatty foods and foods high in cholesterol.

Lisa tells us after experiencing a heart attack, she completely changed her lifestyle.

She takes her medicine, she exercises and she's really watching her diet and eating healthier.