Cedar Rapids woman shares personal experience with heart disease - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids woman shares personal experience with heart disease

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - It's the top killer of women, more deadly than all forms of cancer combined: Heart disease.

Jami Stevens is currently going through cardiac rehab. She's recovering from a heart attack.

"I started feeling like something was stuck and I was like, 'Oh, it's probably just indigestion,' and pretty soon I'm on the floor having trouble breathing," said Stevens. "It felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest."

Heart attack symptoms can be different for women than they are for men.

"They may not have the chest pains, just left arm or right arm pain," said Dr. Hisham Wagdy with UnityPoint Clinic Cardiology. "They have to be very cognizant of these symptoms and seek help."

Stevens' case is unusual -- her heart problems aren't caused by a buildup in the arteries, but by a problem with her artery walls.

Still, she sticks to a healthy diet and exercises to prevent other health problems, because with her condition, another heart attack is already possible. She's had two in a year and a half -- and isn't even 40 years old.

"I'm not letting it get me down," said Stevens. "This is part of my life. This is my story. This is what I have to do."

Doctors say quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising can help prevent heart disease.

More specifically, cutting out sugars, eating less salt and eating good fats like vegetable oils should be part of a healthy diet.
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