CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - They're America’s top killers: Heart disease and strokes.
“I didn't think there was anything wrong. I thought I was out of shape, I thought the tightness in my chest was a little heartburn, the heaviness in my chest. I'm too young to have heart disease or heart problems but I was totally wrong," Grier Clarke said.
The American Heart Association holding their annual Charlotte Heart Walk to help prevent the diseases. About 15,000 people walked. Many survivors sporting a red hat to show they survived heart disease and other wearing white for strokes.
“No one should take it for granted. Just because you are in a reasonable good state of health, that you shouldn't get checked out,” Tom Orth said.
The Heart Association is getting results, raising about 1.4 million dollars just from the heart walk. That’s Money that will go into research to stop these top killers.
“My father has had open heart surgery 3 times and so it's really opened up my eyes as an individual to watch what i eat, eat healthier and exercise, those things together, it a great way to combat the disease," Ken Bernardo said.
“It is, and it's every day, taking that next step and just adding to it and a little baby steps add up to a big lifestyle change," Jan Wagner said.
And if it runs in your family, it's even more important to get checked.
"The cardiologist said that mine was more genetic than anything else because it does run in our family. One thing is that I never thought I would ever have problems with my heart simply because I watched what I eat and I exercise," Regina Black said.
"If anybody has weigh issues or family history, they need to see a cardiologist in their 30's. That was our big mistake, my brother and I, with my father dying of a heart attack at a young age, you need to see a cardiologist," Orth said.
Heart disease deaths have declined over the decades but the Heart Association is eagerly waiting for when it's no longer the number one killer.