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Heart disease: Know the facts

Heart disease kills more than 600,000 Americans each year so you should know your risk factors, according to Amit Keswani, M.D., an interventional cardiologist on the medical staff at Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia.

Heart disease occurs when a substance called plaque builds along the walls of your arteries, making the vessel narrower over time and reducing blood flow. Risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes

“Heart disease is often associated with men; however, it is the leading cause of death for both men and women. We encourage everyone to learn the signs of a heart attack and what to do if you experience any of these symptoms,” said Dr. Keswani.

The signs and symptoms of a heart attack may vary by individual and by gender. Commonly they include:

  • Chest discomfort that can feel like an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain
  • Discomfort in other parts of the upper body, one or both arms, neck, jaw, upper back or stomach
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness

If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately call 911. A quick response can prevent permanent heart damage and, more importantly, could save your life.

Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia offers the only cardiac intervention lab in southern Middle Tennessee where blocked vessels can be opened in a matter of minutes, increasing blood flow and reducing damage to the heart. An accredited chest pain center, the facility offers diagnostic testing, interventional procedures, pacemaker and defibrillator implants, cardiac rehabilitation and much more.