Health check: Carrie Fisher's death emphasizes heart risks

Carrie Fisher passed away at the age of 60; she was very open about her struggles with mental illness and addiction (MGN Online)

Carrie Fisher died of a heart attack at only 60 years old.

Now local specialists hope this will help raise awareness about heart disease because it's the number one killer of women.

Now that this Hollywood icon is a victim -- maybe you will pay better attention to the risk factors and symptoms.

Nurse practitioner Allison Helgeson is a heart specialist for women at Centra.

Helgeson said lack of exercise, obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking, are all risk factors.

Age and family history are pretty important too.

If you have a primary relative who has heart problems, are 65 or older, Helgeson said you are at risk.

"I think it is a good opportunity to educate and take a look at yourself -- each individual person -- to look at your numbers, weight, exercise levels, if they smoke or not to make sure they're getting their blood pressure and cholesterol checked also," Helgeson said.

In Fisher's case, she was very open about a history of drug and alcohol abuse.

Those are definitely factors.

Helgeson said they can weaken the heart muscle, putting you at risk.

For more on the symptoms in heart attack in women click here.

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