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NEWS STORIES

Understanding Heart DiseaseSubmitted: 10/02/2012
Story By Michael Crusan

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MINOCQUA - One out of every two of us will be affected by heart disease or stroke in our lifetime.

For many, buildup in the arteries can begin as early as age two.

A cardiologist with Marshfield Clinic in Minocqua says the blockages and buildup of plaque in your arteries can easily go un-noticed as it damages your heart.

Dr. Michael McGill says, "What happens is they walk around with these a-symptomatic blockages for years and years and then the blockage ruptures. When it ruptures it closes off the artery. Now the tissue downstream, those heart cells, aren't getting blood flow and those heart cells start to die."

Once the damage occurs it's irreversible and the risk factors for heart disease fall into two categories...what you're born with and your lifestyle habits, McGill says, "The things you can't do, you can't change your age, you can't pick your parents and men have a higher heart disease, until menopause, compared to women. But the things you can absolutely control are diet, exercise, treating high blood pressure, treating high cholesterol and not smoking."

There are classic symptoms of heart problems, such as tight chest pains, but to know for sure you should always talk to your doctor about your specific heart health.

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