By: Gina Pitisci Email
By: Gina Pitisci Email

Heart disease is the number one cause of death of men and women in the United States. Promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle can decrease your chances of heart disease which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in saving your life.

According to Cardiologist, Dr. Andreas Muench at the Southeast Alabama Medical Center, “there are about 1 million heart attacks each year in this country, that's one every 30 seconds.”

David Plunkett, a heart disease patient, was almost part of that grim statistic. After having an overdue stress test last march, his cardiologist told him he had 4 blocked arteries and had to have heart surgery. That surgery saved his life.

Plunkett states he’s “never had any problems with my heart, but I come from a long line of heart patients.”

The number of people with heart disease is growing in the United States, but the people that do have heart disease have much better options now than ever before.

Muench states “we have new medications, we have a catheter based technologies where we can open blood vessels with angioplasty and stints, we have open heart surgery, there are 2 hospitals in Dothan that offer all these services and most people actually do well, even with advanced heart disease.”

New technology in the wiregrass is also helping to save lives. Dothan fire rescue has incorporated transmitters into their 12 lead EKG machines enabling the Catheter lab at the hospital to prepare 20 minutes in advance of a patients arrival. Sean Gibson, with Dothan Fire Rescue says “we literally bring the emergency room to your bedside.”

According to physicians, diet plays a big part in reducing your risk of heart disease. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables is strongly recommended. Muench says “we know about risk factors such as diabetes, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, obesity and family history.”

9 months after Plunkett’s surgery he says he feels better everyday and is thankful for his new lease on life. He states “I mean I'm just as good as I was when I was 40.

February is Heart Health Awareness Month so make sure to get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. If you experience crushing chest pain, excessive sweating and unusual shortness of breath, contact 9-1-1 immediately.

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