SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – September 29 is known as World Heart Day, a time that is meant to bring awareness of heart disease. 

“Heart disease is very common among people in the United States today and it seems to be happening earlier and earlier. So, if you have a family history of heart disease and say your dad had a heart attack when he was 60, chances are likely that you may develop heart disease and probably at a younger age than your father did,” said Ann McDonald, Registered Nurse at MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center. 

Ann McDonald has been a Registered Nurse at MercyOne for 35 years and gave ways that people can promote heart health in their daily lives, starting with a visit to the doctor. 

“Most people start with a visit to their family physician; they can do a diagnostic EKG there that tells a lot of information. From there, especially if you’re having any sort of shortness of breath or chest pain, you’ll probably get referred to a cardiologist where they’ll do more screenings like an echocardiogram or a stress test,” said McDonald. 

McDonald said other ways people can promote good heart health include altering your normal diet and exercising.

“Watch your intake of red meat, increase your vegetables and your fruit and cut back on your high fat foods. Exercise at least 20 minutes a day, if you can, otherwise three times a week,” said McDonald. 

McDonald said to immediately see a doctor if your experiencing shortness of breath following simple activities or chest pains.