Health experts: More people experiencing heart disease symptoms

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HUNTINGTON STATION -

Health experts on Long Island say they're seeing more people with symptoms of heart disease.

David Holstein says he has always thought of himself as being in good shape. But he started having some mild chest pain while running. He thought it might be due to allergies or too much weightlifting.

"I wasn't in serious pain," Holstein says. "The doctor asked, 'well, what did you do when you found this discomfort?' I said I just slowed down, ran through it."

He says he was shocked when he found out that he had three severely clogged arteries. He wound up having five stents put in over a four-week period.

Holstein's story is pretty common, according to Wendy Beckmann, a board-certified nurse practitioner at NYU Langone Huntington Medical Group.

"I talk about people not having the thing that we call the Hollywood heart attack," Beckmann says. "When they’re clutching their chest and they fall to the ground, and it's a very big dramatic scene."

What's more common, Beckmann says, is what Holstein felt -- discomfort, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Health experts say there are a number of reasons why people don't come in to get a heart problem checked out -- they're too busy, too scared or are perhaps not taking the symptoms seriously.

Christine Desimone says her dad has an irregular heartbeat, so her whole family pays attention.

"We always are thinking about our heart health and where it could be as you get older," she says.

Holstein says thinking is a good start, but following up with a doctor is even better.

"Every once in a while, take a time out and listen to what your body is telling you," he says.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease accounts for one in seven deaths in the United States.

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