American Heart Health Month

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - The State Health Department shows Oklahoma had the third highest death rate for heart disease in the nation back in 2010.

Doctor Pranjal Desai is an OBGYN at Mercy Ardmore.

He tells us some conditions, like Preeclampsia during pregnancy, can lead to heart problems down the road.

"Preeclampsia basically has an everlasting effect," Dr. Desai said. "As a matter of fact in 2000 American Heart Association has listed preeclampsia as a future cardiovascular risk factor."

Preeclampsia, a condition that causes hyper tension, only occurs in some pregnancies.

Dr. Desai says it usually appears around 34 weeks and is diagnosed with high blood pressure or high levels of protein in urine.

Symptoms can include headaches, having blurred vision or seeing spotting, shortness of breath and chest pains.

He tells us the most effective treatment is delivery.

Lizette Barrientos is 25 weeks into her pregnancy.

She tells us she has been taking care of herself well and hasn't had any problems.

"I take my prenatal vitamins daily and I try to get a little work out here and there - you know nothing too extreme," Barrientos said.

Barrientos says she isn't worried about getting preeclampsia because she didn't have it during her last two pregnancies, but she does know others who have had to deal with it.

Pregnant or not, Dr. Desai tells us it's important for everyone to have check ups and exams to monitor heart activity.

He recommends exercising regularly and eating right.

"Healthy lifestyle in terms of just take care of your diet - have a low carb, low fat, have high fruits, vegetables, fibers in your diet," Dr. Desai said.

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