Keeping your heart health in check

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - When 7News last talked to 38-year-old Doris Anderson, she was recovering from a rare cardiac abnormality that required surgery to survive.  Now she's encouraging other people to reduce their risks for heart problems with a few easy steps.

It's been one year since Doris Anderson collapsed at work and Dr. Michael Turner, a cardiologist at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, discovered that she had an abnormal left coronary artery.  It's a condition Doris was born with, but never knew about until this medical scare.  "It pinches the artery off and the blood flow to the front wall of the heart is cut off," says Dr. Turner.

Surgery corrected the problem, but to keep her heart as healthy as possible, Doris got her co-workers on board to trade in their work shoes for tennis shoes for at least a few minutes each day.  "We try to make time, at least 15 minutes out of the day to take a walk," she says, "just to breathe from our jobs - so we can also have a healthier heart and just to be healthy overall."

At least 30 minutes of daily aerobic activity can help you live longer and healthier.  Dr. Turner says, "My patients who really make an effort to exercise daily, tend to stay out of the hospital, they tend to have less complications, they are able to control their weight and their high blood pressure and diabetes much more easily."

And something as simple as walking each day can actually lead to the reversal of chronic medical conditions.  "Every risk factor for heart disease, except heredity, is reversible at least in part," says Dr. Turner.

Thanks to Doris and her crew's commitment to keep moving, she's now off all of her medications and breathing more easily than before.  "Now I can walk the stairs with no problems," she says, "no breathing problems, I breathe just fine."

*The 2009 Southwest Louisiana Heart Walk will be Saturday, November 7th at the Lake Charles Civic Center.  Click here to find out how you can get involved.

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