HATTIESBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) - You or someone you know may be affected by the number one killer in our state. Cardiovascular disease takes the lives of more than a third of Mississippians, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Merit Health Wesley's Cardiologist Dr. Dan Skarzynski said when it comes to matters of the heart, don't ignore the warning signs.
Skarzynski said he knows heart disease isn't easy to overcome.
"It's something that we can work to lessen our potential to have," Skarzynski said.
He said fighting cardiovascular disease starts with making sure our lifestyles aren't putting us at risk.
"The diet, unfortunately, heavy with fat and fried food and salt, non ideal exercise and attention to weight," Skarzynski said. "Smoking is another big factor there."
Even if you can pinpoint the risk factors in your life, Skarzynski said the signs and symptoms of heart disease may only be obvious to your doctor.
"Poor blood flow of the heart, people might experience, as we say silent ischemia, just might feel nauseous or ill, or out of breath with that," Skarzynski said.
Dr. Skarzynski explained heart disease isn't all about heart attacks.
"For blood pressure less than 130 on top or systolic less than 80 on the bottom, and there are guidelines for cholesterols and your physician too set the guidelines for your sugars and A1C," Skarzynski said.
He said time is critical when you notice signs of stroke. The signs can include difficulty with speech, weakness on one side, or inattentiveness.
"If you think you are experiencing those symptoms, you want to contact a provider quickly or go to the emergency room if you are having signs of heart attack or stroke," Skarzynski said.
Skarzynski added you can reduce your chance of a having a heart attack or stroke by 50 percent if you control your blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol. He also said not smoking, eating healthy, and getting active by simply walking when you can make a huge impact.