ORLANDO, Fla. – February is heart month and local cardiac specialists want to challenge everyone to seek out heart healthy alternatives.
"Heart disease is the No. 1 killer,” Cindi Hayes said.
Hayes is a cardiology nurse practitioner at the Trina Hidalgo Heart Care Center in Orlando. She said people should remember heart disease can strike anyone at any age.
"I have a 39-year-old female that just had open heart surgery. That's young. People don't realize, it's all of us," Hayes said.
It’s that lesson that led Hayes to apply for a grant to open the cardiac center in 2006.
At the time, Hayes said she was doing clinical rounds in the hospital and noticed very sick patients coming in with cardiac problems month after month.
“We kept saying, 'This isn't right. We need a way to take care of these people,'" Hayes said.
Since then, the Advent Health Foundation has given the Heart Care Center more than $4.3 million to help thousands of uninsured patients with diagnosed cardiac disease.
“They're not afraid they're going to die in the next couple months. That's a big deal,” Hayes said. “This is a clinic that helps people in our community and we get results.”
For more information on the center and how you can help get results, click here.