Stars death sparks interest in heart health

The death of well-known actor James Gandolfini, best known for his role in the hit television series the Sopranos, has sparked a lot of conversation on heart disease and who's more at risk for developing it.

As many of you may know by now, the Sopranos star died Wednesday of a heart attack. At 51, Gandolfini was 13 years younger than the average male heart attack victim, according to the Center for Disease Control. Some conditions as well as some lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for developing heart disease.

But diet plays a leading role. According to Regional Medical Center/Cardiovascular Institute of the South Dr.Louis Salvaggio most of us in Louisiana don't eat well. We don't eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. The majority of our food comes fried or smothered in cheese and we eat a lot of seafood that is fried or boiled in a lot of salt water. Salvaggio says all of that puts us at risk for hypertension and heart disease which could lead to a massive heart attack.

The five major symptoms of a heart attack are-pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back. Feeling weak, light-headed or faint. Chest pain or discomfort. Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder and shortness of breath. Dr Salvaggio says sometimes age doesn't matter. If your family has a history of heart disease, you're more at risk of developing it.

He also notes that after the age of 40 the incidents of coronary disease increase and that's why it is very important to get a yearly check-up. A healthy, balanced diet, exercise and consulting with your doctor about any symptoms could help reduce your chances of developing heart disease.

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