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Smoke conditions could increase risk of heart attack

A Cardiologist is sending out a warning to anyone with underlying health conditions and heart disease.
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 9:17 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The air quality through out the valley has turned from annoying, cancelling some events and closing all public pools in Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead today, to downright dangerous, sending one man to the emergency room.

With the smoke expected to stick around for several days, a local cardiologist is sending out a warning to anyone with underlying health conditions and heart disease.

“It inevitably means there’s going to be more heart attacks.” said Dr. Rory Farnan, an Interventional Cardiologist for Essentia Health.

He said physicians have seen this before in cities where air quality reaches a dangerous level, heart attack rates go up and some may not even realize it.

“It’s been very difficult to try and figure out is this a heart attack or is this asthma… or a reactive airways disease.” Dr. Farnan said.

He is warning anyone with underlying heath conditions to stay inside as much as possible, and if you have to go outside to wear a mask to try and filter out any particles.

Karl Jensen ended up in the ER this afternoon for a wildfire smoke induced asthma attack. He said his symptoms started July 22, but by the next day he couldn’t stop coughing and had a hard time breathing.

“I’m wearing a mask so I can breathe better.. and the smoke...It helps filter out... It works.” said Jensen.

Jamie Wheelright, a CNA, agreed.

“It’s been really heavy, my chest, my throat, my eyes burning…put the n-95 on and I can breathe pretty clearly.” said Wheelright.

She said for those who don’t have an n-95,

“Find one. Otherwise, it’s just too smokey to even be outside…very unhealthy.” Wheelright said.

Dr. Farnan said inhaling the wildfire smoke is like smoking cigarettes, the particles inhaled get transported to the heart causing short term problems which could lead to angina and heart attacks.

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