Heart Attack: Know the warning signs

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FREMONT, Neb. While you're watching this story - four people in the United States will have a heart attack. As Serese Cole reports - that is why it's so important to know the warning signs.

When Kimberlie Hanson walks now - it's with purpose.

"I exercise every day," Hanson said.

But it hasn't always been this way. The vocal music teacher and mother of four was like most moms - always busy and rarely put her own health first.

She had a heart attack in November when she was 45-years-old.

Fremont Health Family Medicine Physician, Dr. Todd Eberle, says heart disease is the number one killer of men and women. He says it is now a society problem - and blames our lax lifestyle.

"The main thing that it comes down to is the American diet and exercise habits. We like our McDonald's, our fried foods and our high salt," said Dr. Eberle.

And...the older you get, the more at risk you become. If you have high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes - you're even more at risk.

"Diabetes alone doubles the risk for a heart attack." Dr. Eberle added.

There are two things we can do right now to protect ourselves. First, make healthier choices. Second. know the warning signs. they can be different for men and women," said Serese Cole.

The classic heart attack symptom is chest pain.

"Feels very much like pressure…something fairly sudden, but can build up slowly. Classically it radiates to your arm, your shoulders and your back," explained Dr. Eberle.

But women can also have shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting or lightheadedness.

"I felt a little short of breath. Got really hot. Chest pain," said Hanson. "It came on so fast, there was not really a warning.

Kimberlie's warning was her family history. Her father had a heart attack in his 30s. Since her heart attack, Kimberlie has made a lot of changes.

"Diet has changed a lot. Sodium is very minimal."

That's in addition to her daily walk - to keep her heart healthy.

"How do I know if it's going to happen again," Hanson asked.

... and her mind at peace.

Dr. Eberle says a good diet, 30 minutes of exercise a day - and seeing your doctor every year are among best things you can do to reduce your risk for a heart attack.