February is American Heart Month.
Especially this time of year we've been talking about how cardiovascular disease is the silent killer of women.
In Health Plus, Tara Thomas has the story of an eastern Iowa woman who went from walking a 5K to walking the treadmill in cardiac rehab.
Vicky Arends was not aware of her heart problem.
A chat with a cardiologist at Speaking of Women's Health in Waterloo led her to Covenant Medical Center. And to getting a stent put in this past November when a blocked artery was discovered.
"He said I was probably a year out from a heart attack."
The 58-year-old Cedar Falls woman is now in cardiac rehabilitation. Her rehab therapist appreciates heart patients dedicated to a complete recovery.
"She's really tough on herself. She pushes herself hard. And we're kind of like her cheerleaders. It's fun to see people want to be well and to do more exercise," says Polly Eide.
Another health problem that rendered vicky short of breath led her to brush off her symptoms. But the proactive move to get checked out saved her life. In fact, the American Heart Association reminds us that 80 percent of cardiac events are largely preventable.
"20 years ago people had a big disaster and then found out they had heart disease. Now people are a lot more proactive,"says Eide.
It's a message Vicky will walk away with and share with others for years to come.
In Waterloo, Tara Thomas, Iowa's News Channel 7