Heart Awareness Month: Valley woman shares family history of heart disease

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

One person dies every 36 seconds in the U.S. from cardiovascular disease, the CDC reports. That's about 655,000 American each year. 

Chief Cardiologist at Harlingen Medical Center Dr. Shereef Hilmy says it's important to live a healthy lifestyle and know the factors that put you at higher risk of heart disease. 

Hilmy says even people that show no symptoms of heart disease can have a sudden heart attack.

"As a matter of fact 50% of heart attacks happen as the first manifestation of heart disease," Hilmy said.

Maria Gonzales knows the damage heart disease can have on families. She says her family has a long history of heart disease.

"My uncles, aunts, my moms side, they all have had heart attacks," Gonzales said. "Most of them all died from heart attacks."

Two years ago, Gonzales said she started feeling strange. She says she experienced cramps on her legs and feet and was having a difficult time walking. 

A trip to the doctor landed Gonzales an immediate referral to the cardiologist where tests revealed she had blood clots in both her legs. 

Watch the video for the full story. 

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