NEW ORLEANS—Heart disease is America's number 1 killer. During American Heart Month and on this Go Red day, we reflect back on how it's affected our community.
Barbara Walters calls it a matter of life and death. In a special report, she shares her story of facing open-heart surgery in order to save her life. "Strangely enough, I wasn't frightened. It was as if, it wasn't happening to me. I also had this thought... if I died on the operating table, I won't know it." Every year, the hearts of more than half a million women stop beating.
Kern says, "It was gonna be a simple angiogram and suddenly the doctors, my buddies, are crying." Already on the gurney for his angiogram, Kern suffered a massive heart attack. His heart stopped beating for 32 minutes. "If that had happened anywhere else, I'd be dead, I wouldn't even be here."
Kern took the right steps, consulting his physician when things didn't seem right. L.S.U. Cardiologist Dr. Pramilla Subramaniam urges her patients to do the same. "Don't go to the doctor when you're already sick. Try to see where you stand, get your preventive examinations."
Dr. Subramaniam advises to keep an eye out for risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and smoking. Like Blaine Kern, she says, exercise and eat right. Those simple steps can save your life.
Taking steps to prevent heart disease is especially important in Louisiana, which ranks 47th for heart health in the U.S. That's almost dead last. Campaigns like "Go Red for Women" and "American Heart Month" raise awareness about the problem, but it's up to you to visit the doctor, exercise and eat right.