Chart Your Heart, Part 3

It's the final day of "Chart Your Heart," and we're talking risk factors, with the message being there are ways you can control your risk of heart disease, which is the number one killer of American women.

A trip to the ER changed Bonnie Culbreth's life.

“I can remember him leaning over me and saying, "Now Bonnie, you're having a heart attack."

While the news was shocking at the time, looking back she says it really shouldn't have been all that surprising.

“I had a history of hypertension, I'm diabetic, I had high cholesterol.”

Add in Bonnie had no exercise routine and struggled with a weight problem. In other words, she had five of the six modifiable risk factors for heart disease. The sixth is smoking, a habit that can double your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Bachtel, CRMC cardiologist, says, “When people quit after five years their risk approaches non-smoker.”

Cardiologists say it's important for women and men to make lifestyle changes. Take it from 73-year-old Bonnie, now a survivor of a heart attack, triple bypass surgery, angioplasty and stints.

Bonnie Culbreth says, “Be informed, get to know your body. Only you know how you feel and pay attention to it.”