Columbia, SC (WLTX) – Heart disease is the number one killer in South Carolina accounting for over 10,000 deaths and over 50,000 hospitalizations in 2015. The costs exceed $3 billion.

Anil Yallapragrada M.D. is a vascular neurologist and Medical Director of the Stroke Center at Palmetto Richland Hospital in Columbia.

He said many issues, including heart disease, start with obesity. Stroke, diabetes and heart attack all start and end with being overweight, smoking, not enough exercise, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

“It (obesity) can lead you to have diabetes. It can lead you to have high blood pressure. It  can lead you to have high cholesterol, so those things tear the blood vessels inside your body. From the time we’re born to the time we are very old blood is pumping through our heart and through our blood vessels and at the age of ten years old we start to develop some changes in the lining of blood vessels in the normal individual, but when you start to put these things into your body where they are not supposed to be at the levels that they’re not supposed to be…you start to accelerate that process, that wear and tear on the blood vessels, so the organs that are supplied throughout your body start to die off,” he said.

Yallapragrada also has some tips on how you can live a happier,…