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Heart Health in the Hills

3 min read

RAPID CITY S.D. (KOTA TV) - More than 600 thousand Americans die from heart disease each year and unless there is cause for concern for your heart, you might not know you have a heart condition.

First, look at your family. If your mom, dad, grandparents, anyone in your immediate family had a heart condition that you could inherit, that's when a doctor will step in to look at your heart.

"If you have people in your family that have had heart trouble early on, that's a warning. We can't change your genetics yet so if you have that in your family it would be a good thing to look at," says Dr. Kelly Vaughn-Whitley a Cardiologist.

For men, symptoms can be pain in the chest, for women it can be pain in the back or in the jaw. But for everyone, if symptoms are present when you exert yourself, then stop when you rest, this could mean your heart is in trouble.

"It's certainly fine to go see your regular doctor and discuss the symptoms with your doctor and your doctor can help guide you in whether or not they feel you need to see a cardiologist or if they think that they can start evaluation themselves if they're comfortable doing it," says Whitley.

Most people aren't going to get a echo or EKG done to test their heart, but what you can do is keep track of your cholesterol and blood pressure. As well as watch your diet and exercise to keep your heart healthy.

"It would be the best to take care of it now and not have to worry about, am I going to be a candidate for transplant later on," says Whitley.

Dr. Whitley says if you are having chest pains, and aren't sure about your family's heart history, don't chalk it up to indigestion or something minimal- go get your heart checked.

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