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Jan 30, 2013 1:55 PM by Elizabeth Hill

Keys to being heart healthy

The problems are complex, but the solutions are relatively simple. Even with diet and exercise, you still may be at risk for heart problems.

"I thought I was doing all the right things."

Last year, Gary Dodson was out jogging when he had a heart attack. Dodson says he has a history of heart disease in his family, so he exercises regularly, eats healthy and doesn't drink or smoke. But there was one thing Dodson hadn't done- had an electrocardiogram or EKG.

"I just put it off," says Dodson.

Think of your heart as a delicate plumbing system.

"Your heart has coronary arteries and when they get clogged basically oxygen or blood flow isn't getting to the vital organs that need it," says Dr. Christopher Daniels.

Bad cholesterol and high blood pressure are the biggest indicators of heart problems.

"You can have congestive heart failure with heart disease or you can have hypertensive heart disease."

Dodson says now he takes advantage of any health fairs and other resources to make sure he is as informed as possible about his health.

"You only got one life, I'm lucky I've been given a second chance."

Dr. Daniels says a diet rich in oily fish like salmon, unsalted nuts and plenty of fruits and vegetables can help decrease your risk of heart problems. Exercise is key too, but Daniels says if you currently live a sedentary lifestyle to consult your doctor before you begin an exercise program.

The Cardiovascular Institute of the South at Lafayette General wants to help you take care of your most vital organ.

February is heart month and LGMC will host a series of health fairs giving patients access to free screenings.

Here are the dates for upcoming Heart Fairs:

February Heart Month
Feb. 6 - CIS at Lafayette General, 3:30 - 6 p.m.
Feb. 21 - CIS at St. Martin Hospital, 5 - 7 p.m.
Feb. 23 - LGMC's Burdin Riehl Center (across from hospital), 9 a.m. to 12 noon

Following Heart Month, 13 more heart fairs will be offered through the end of the year.

Monthly heart fairs at CIS at Lafayette General (443 Heymann Blvd.) 3:30 - 6 p.m.:

March 14
April 11
May 9
June 13
July 11
August 8
Sept. 12
Oct. 10
Nov. 14
Dec. 12

Saturday heart fairs at Lafayette General's Burdin Riehl Center (1211 Coolidge Street, across from LGMC) 9 a.m. - 12 noon:

April 27
August 24
Oct. 26



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