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Editorial: Do not kid with matters of heart

Yazoo City native and adopted Natchezian John Taylor’s story about his battle with heart disease should serve as a reminder to all of us that our lives are fragile and fleeting.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and the Center for Disease Control estimates 655,000 Americans die each year because of heart disease.

While you can never prevent death, you can always prolong life. Unhealthy eating, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use can put you at a risk of heart disease, cutting short the days you have on this earth.

By taking steps to prevent heart disease, such as exercising regularly and eating healthy, you greatly increase your chances of not developing heart disease. Having a healthy lifestyle sometimes is not enough when genetics comes into play, but it does help.

In Taylor’s case, he did cardiovascular exercises regularly and still had a near death experience. Part of what saved his life is regular visit with his doctor, Taylor said.

It is important to get an annual physical to catch diabetes, high blood pressure and high stress. Spending 45 minutes in a doctor’s office is well worth the years of additional time you could spend with your family by catching heart disease early. Taking the medicine your doctor recommends is also crucial to prevent or mitigate heart disease.

Additionally, knowing the signs of a heart attack and stroke could save minutes in getting medical help. Those minutes could be the difference between life and death.

According to the American Heart Association, symptoms of a heart attacks are chest discomfort, discomfort in the neck, back, arms, jaws, or stomach and shortness of breath. Stroke symptoms are face drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulty. Call 9-1-1 if you or a loved one has any of these symptoms.

We’re all living on borrowed time and taking measures to keep your heart ticking and extend your life is worth every second.

Those seconds add up to more moments shared with family and friends.

You can donate to the American Heart Association and help them educate and fund research to prevent heart disease by visiting heart.org.

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