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BATON ROUGE, LA – It’s something we all have. It helps keep us alive, but if we don’t take care of it, things could turn deadly. In this week’s women’s wellness, we talked to Dr. Richard Lieux about how to keep your heart healthy.

“Women tend to worry about things such as breast cancer. You know, heart disease is the leading killer of women in the United States,” said Dr. Lieux.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 600,000 people die from heart disease every year. Dr. Lieux, an internist at the Baton Rouge Clinic, said millions, including women, live with it daily.

“Approximately, 44 million women in the united states in 2016 are impacted by heart disease,” explained Dr. Lieux.

Now the question is, what are some symptoms? Dr. Lieux said it can include chest pain and shortness of breath, but that is not all.

“A lot of times the presenting symptoms for a woman are not necessarily chest pain, but it will be that the first thing they ever have is a heart attack, or heart failure, or sudden cardiac death,” said Dr. Lieux. “That’s what we’re trying to avoid.”

Who’s at risk?

“…Such as smoking, hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, family history, are at risk,” said Dr. Lieux. “That holds true for women as well as men. Inactivity, obesity are also risk factors. That’s something that we try to stress.”

Dr. Lieux said getting yearly screenings to check your heart health is crucial, especially as you get older.

“If you’re looking at just heart disease. Obviously, we tell everybody, probably like over age 40, you need to see a doctor every year. For a woman, gynecology-wise, it’s different. You know, yearly, it’s well before that, but when you get into your 40s and 50s, it’s much more important that you have screening exams done,” explained Dr. Lieux. “Talk to your doctor and find out what needs to be done.”

Don’t forget about breaking a sweat.

“Having your doctor try to get you to, so to speak, ‘get off the couch’ and start engaging in exercise, it really, really does have a positive impact on your longevity,” concluded Dr. Lieux. “It has a lot of positive impacts on other diseases, as well.”

If you want to learn more about how to keep your heart healthy, you can head to the links below:

Check out Women’s Wellness, sponsored by the Baton Rouge Clinic, every Wednesday on Fox 44 News at 9.

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