SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and lately we are hearing about younger and younger victims.
One KELOLAND man is on the road to recovery after having a heart attack four weeks ago while camping with his family.
“I've been given my life back. I was very close to not being here. I'm getting my life back and I'm going to enjoy it,” 40-year-old Mark Gurath said.
Gurath knows just how much he defied the odds this year after surviving one of the worst types of heart attacks, known as the Widow Maker.
“I'm very blessed they say only one in 30,000 survive. That's why they call it the widow maker,” Gurath said.
Now as Gurath works everyday to make healthy choices and his heart stronger, he sees what mistakes he used to make that could have very easily cost him his life.
"In the last few years, I did not take care of my stress. I like salt way too much. I didn't get enough rest and did not get my blood pressure taken. So, I'm sure it was way too high and I paid for it," Gurath said.
Doctor Marion Petrasko says you need to look into your past to find the biggest indicator of this silent killer.
"It's well known that family history is one of the biggest risk factors for those under the age of 45 or under the age of 40," Petrasko said.
"I do have a heart history in my family. My father is gone; he was gone at 62. My grandfather was 67. There is high blood pressure in my family," Gurath said.
While Gurath knew the signs were there, he says he let his life get out of control.
"It's an eye opener I guess because heart disease runs in my family I thought someday, but not at 40,"Gurath said.
Petrasko says even if you know your family history, there's no way of knowing when a heart attack may strike, which is why he says your lifestyle is so important.
“Doing something that you move, three times a week if you want to maintain and most days a week if you want to improve your heart health," Petrasko said.
After Guraths heart attack, surgery was the only way to fix the problem, but that surgery was just the first step on a long road to recovery.
"I'm looking forward to it. I'm ready for a change. I was doing too much and stressed out too much I'm looking forward to it I'm already feeling better," Gurath said.
It's with that positive attitude Gurath says he will never look back or put his family through this again.
"I'm going to come out of this better than before," Gurath said.
Petrasko says the best thing you can do to help prevent heart disease it work out, eat right and not smoke. And if heart disease does run in your family, be sure to get yearly heart checks.
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