February is American heart month - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

February is American heart month

By Colleen Donovan - bio | email 

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - February is American Heart Month. It's a time to draw attention to how we can protect ourselves from the number one cause of death in our country, heart disease.

Alan Covin is a Hattiesburg Cardiologist and founder of Heart South. He said there are several risk factors associated with heart disease with the number one being genetics.

Covin said, "I think it all starts with knowing your parent's history and family history and if there has been a history of heart disease in your family, that's a primary risk factor."

Other risk factors are environmental. They include things like smoking, weight, diet and exercise. Heart disease encompasses a variety of conditions affecting all aspects of the organ. Covin said heart rhythm problems are commonly seen in patients.

"The heart rhythm symptoms many times relate to some palpitations or fast heart beat, heart fluttering, butterflies in your chest having dizziness, blackout spells. Sometimes it's just nausea and feeling bad," said Covin.

When it comes to treatment options, Covin said there are always new technologies and techniques available to target heart problems. Medications are also used to ease heart conditions.

He said, "In treating heart disease, it first starts with disease recognition, proper diagnosis to make sure you are treating the right problem and then following up to make sure the treatment is working."

Another way to treat heart disease is through positive lifestyle changes. However, Covin said that is the most difficult treatment form to implement in patients.

Copyright 2009 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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