It's called a silent killer and it's the number one cause of death of people of all ages, more than homicides and cancer.
We're talking about heart disease. And health experts say people are not taking as seriously as they should..
Jackie Ikner said, "I was having shortness of breath, very fatigued, no energy."
They were all symptoms that Jackie Ikner had no idea were caused because of heart problems. Ikner said, "I had a very weak heart. My heart was not pumping the fluids out everyday like it should."
Six months ago, she was rushed to the emergency room after having congestive heart failure. She was diagnosed with heart disease. Ikner says she's lucky to have survived the whole ordeal.
Ikner said, "It is very scary and I'm very fortunate they caught it before it was able to get too bad."
Matt Hooper with the American Heart Association says one in every three people in the U.S die from heart disease. That's alarming. Hooper says a person's lifestyle is the reason why heart disease is taking so many lives.
Hooper said, "Diet and the level of activity and exercise. That is a huge determining factor as to cardiovascular health. Chances are if you're eating food high is sodium, fat and sugar chances are you're going to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure." And Hooper says those are major indicators of your risk for heart disease.
Ikner showed the scar on her chest from where she had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted. Both help her heart pump and she also has a heart monitor at her bedside that reports back to her doctor.
Ikner says having heart disease is scary and it's changed her. She's now doing what she can to live a long life, "I'm on my medications. I've changed my diet. I've started exercising a couple days a week. I've changed some things to make it better."
Heart disease is preventable which is why people should eat right, exercise and get regular check-ups.
While heart disease can affect anyone, more women die from it than all forms of cancer combined.
Next month is American Heart Month. On February 3rd, the American Heart Association is "National Go Red Day" to raise awareness about heart disease in women and help stop the silent killer.
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