Study: Utica-Rome area is #4 in nation for heart attacks

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Story Updated: Jul 25, 2013

A recent Gallup-Healthways Survey in USA Today puts the Utica-Rome area fourth in a ranking of cities where people have the most heart attacks.

The only places that ranked more at risk were the Huntington-Ashland area in West Virginia; the Davenport-Moline Rock Island in Iowa and Fort Smith in Arkansas.

The study found that large numbers of people here are obese, and smoke, but that but small numbers exercise regularly.

A local interventional cardiologist, Dr. Michael Kelberman, says that patients he sees in his office don't contradict those findings, but he also sees many healthy patients in their 90s because "they make healthy life choices."

That's the point Dr. Kelberman says he wants to drive home, that you have a say in which kind of statistic you become.

"Heart disease is a preventable disease and you can change your outcome," Dr. Kelberman said. "You can change the statistics. It's not a hopeless endeavor. People can make a big difference and we have to really change. Exercise is important, but how we eat, what we eat (is too)."

The study found that the incidence of high blood pressure in the Utica-Rome area was higher than the national average. The study also said that nearly a full third of people in the area are obese, and more than a quarter, smoke.

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