LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- February is American Heart Month.
On average, someone dies of cardiovascular disease every 38 seconds in the U.S.
The American Heart Association is hoping to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms to save more lives.
“Detecting that on time, detecting that probably makes a huge difference in outcomes and how people are going to do, the amount of damage they’re going to have to the heart muscle and the possibility to survive a heart attack,” said Cardiologist Dr. Fernando Ruiz said.
Ruiz warns heart attacks may pop up with less common symptoms – such as passing out, nausea and sweating.
He also says heart attacks do not always come with a sharp pain.
“Most people don’t complain about actual pain, a sharp pain. most people complain about heaviness or a squeezing sensation, a tightness,” Ruiz said. “That feeling of pressure in the chest is actually more likely in the heart then people experiencing sharp pain for a second or two.”
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 294,000 Louisiana residents have coronary heart disease.
Dr. Ruiz says he sees atherosclerosis the most in this area – a disease where fats, cholesterol, and other substances built up and on the artery walls.
Doctors recommend reducing sodium intake, eating more fruits and vegetables and not smoking to protect yourself against heart diseases.
“There’s a very strong correlation between that kind of disease and diet and obesity and smoking. unfortunately we do have a lot of that,” Ruiz said.
Dr. Ruiz says this day and age there is more hope for cardiovascular disease patient as doctors stress prevention by making sure you’re exercising and at a healthy weight.