Many people in Yakima at-risk of developing heart disease

Contact: Dawn O'Polka 509-837-1543

by Tristan Balagtas, KIMA

YAKIMA, Wash - Smoking. Obesity. Diabetes. All these things can lead to heart disease or a heart attack.

“There's a tremendous burden of cardiovascular disease in the Yakima Valley. Cardiologists moving into this area have been very surprised by the burden of coronary artery disease in our population," said Dr. James Kneller.

Dr. Kneller at the Astria Heart Institute says many people in Yakima are at risk of developing this serious condition.

“We behave very much like a hard-living mid-west population. Lots of McDonalds. Lots of poor risk factor management. Lots of diabetes, obesity, things like that are more concentrated in the Yakima Valley,” he said.

Over 600 thousand people die each year from heart disease in the United States. That's 1 in every 4 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Dr. Kneller says there's a lot that can be done to prevent this epidemic.

“Mainly that is controlling risk factors - so stop smoking if you’re smoking. We have to control your high blood pressure if you have high blood pressure. We have to manage your diabetes as meticulously as possible, and then diet. Heart healthy diets,” said Dr. Kneller.

Other ways to prevent yourself from developing heart disease, is to stay physically active and to manage conditions such as high cholesterol.

Bruce Whitmore is a retired school teacher. He recommends if you ever suspect even the slightest thing wrong with your health, it's better to be safe than sorry.

“I had many little symptoms that are typical with dangerous heart health, and I went to see a doctor, and within ten days, I had major surgery, and if I hadn't, I would've been a 100 percent candidate for a drop-dead heart attack,” said Whitmore.

Heart attack symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and nausea, among other things.

Dr. Kneller says to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these.

Posted February 12, 2018


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