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Who Is at Risk for Heart Disease and What Are the Symptoms?

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Alex E. Proimos, Flickr

The most common cause of death in America is heart disease. On Saturday, radio personality Kidd Kraddick died suddenly from heart disease. Contrary to popular belief, the lack of noticeable symptoms, including chest pain, doesn’t always mean your heart is healthy.

“About three out of eight people die either of heart disease or heart-related illnesses, whether that’s strokes, aneurysms, or hypertension or something like that,” explained cardiologist Dr. Tommy Brown from Ark-La-Tex Cardiology.

Who is at risk?

Many people may be at risk for the disease just based on their genetics.

“The first risk and a risk that we can’t really do anything about is your family history.  If you have members in your family who’s had heart attacks or strokes, or threatened heart attacks, where they had to have a bypass or a stent, and under age 60, that automatically puts you at a much higher risk.”

Dr. Brown also says that men over 50 and women over 60 are at a higher risk for the disease. He adds that smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes also contribute to heart disease.

What are the symptoms?

“If you are a male, or a female, you may get the classic elephant on your chest when you try to do something,” said Dr. Brown. “The hallmark of noticing it is that when you exert yourself, climbing stairs or get emotional, you may feel a tightness, a fullness, or a burning in the center of your chest.”

However, heart disease doesn’t affect just the heart. Dr. Brown says the entire body can be affected by heart disease.

“Two weeks ago, I had a dentist send me a patient that every time they tried to mow their yard, they would get excruciating pain in their jaw and wouldn’t have any pain in their chest or anywhere else, but when he stopped mowing, the pain would go away.  Sure enough, he had bad heart disease. Ended up getting a bypass and never had any chest pain.”

Dr. Brown has one piece of advice to patients, no matter what risk factors you have.

“If you don’t take care of your heart and your vascular care, you’re gonna die a lot earlier or you’re going to die a death that you didn’t necessarily need to die.”

Kidd Kraddick’s Death

Kidd Kraddick died Saturday night from heart disease while attending a benefit golf tournament in New Orleans.

Initial reports said he suffered a brain aneurysm, but it was later learned he passed from an enlarged heart and partially clogged arteries.

Fans and colleagues were shocked to learn of his death and are continuing to grieve.

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