A Jackson County woman talks about her heart attack at age 32 on Wear Red Day
February 2 is Wear Red Day, an annual observance of women and heart disease.
SIH Prairie Heart Institute held a news conference featuring a Jackson County woman who had a heart attack at the age of 32.
Geanita Pryor of Murphysboro is now 49, and admitted she didn't always listen to her doctors, even after the heart attack and ongoing risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history. Pryor has suffered permanent damage to her heart.
She decided to talks about her story in hopes of helping others avoid her situation.
"If one person, the next time they go to their primary (doctor), and their blood pressure is up, (ask) what can we do about this now? Or they're having chest pains, go to the doctor, go to the ER. Make sure you get yourself checked out because to wake up and you're in the hospital with a tube down your throat is not where you want to be."
SIH Prairie Heart Institute cardiologist Dr. Arslan Mirza says it's never too early to start paying attention to your body.
"Anybody above the age of 40 should have a primary care doctor. So that, at least, if they don't have any risk factors, they should see a primary care doctor at least once a year. If you do have risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, or you smoke, talk to your doctor to see if you need to be seen more frequently than a year."
For a healthy heart, Dr. Mirza emphasizes a good diet rich in fruits, vegetables and protein as well as at least 150 minutes of exercise per week (30 minutes-5 days a week on average).