UPDATED: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 9:41pm
BRYAN, Tx (KYLE) — It's a diagnosis no one ever wants to hear but it's one Keithen Book got nearly 20 years ago after he was told he had heart failure.
Book tells us, "Eventually I got heart burn that you could not control. I mean I could drink a bottle of Maalox and it didn't do any good and come to find out I had blockage in my heart and they've done open heart surgery and I've had a quadruple by-pass in '95."
Book isn't alone though.
Nearly 5.5 million Americans are living with heart failure and that's one reason why nurse practitioner, Mary Meyers-Marquardt wanted to open up a heart failure clinic in the Brazos Valley; the first and only of its kind within a 90 mile radius.
"Patients that have heart failure are often times to sick to drive that far for care and their eager to stay out of the hospital and so the clinic here was needed to allow that for patients and give them the quality of care and kind of care they need right here in the Brazos Valley," said Meyers-Marquardt.
While there isn't a cure for heart failure, Meyers-Marquardt says just like diabetes it is manageable.
"With the right medications, watching your diet and watching your salt intake, exercising and monitoring your symptoms and intervening we know that patients can live a healthy life."
And Book is proof of that.
"I can do everything I've always done in moderation," Book said. "I have to be extremely careful I don't get overloaded but other than that I can do anything. And I do, I don't sit here and poor pity-me just because I have heart problems."
Meyers-Marquardt says the clinic's main goal is to keep heart failure patients out of the hospital and to serve as a "heart-line" for those who need help because as she says....
"We're the clinic where failure is not an option."