Heart disease can strike without warning, or it can present warning signs that shouldn’t be overlooked, and it's the number two killer among the Hispanic community, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Heart disease number 2 killer among Hispanic community
  • Central Florida Regional Hospital hosting free seminar in Spanish
  • Call 1-800-445-3392 to register for seminar

This is why both Ray Pereira and Juan Hernández took the warning signs seriously, even if they were different.

Pereira survived a quadruple bypass just days after Christmas; it had been months since he started to feel funny.

"I'd get home, I would be exhausted and I knew something was wrong,” Pereira said.

He was active his entire life, playing baseball and then coaching his kids. But at 54 years old, working out was becoming unbearable.

“I remember going to the treadmill and after five minutes I would be so tired,” Pereira explained.

When he finally went to the doctor he found out two of his main arteries were at 75 percent blockage; days later he got surgery.

In Juan Hernández’s case, his symptoms were very different — he’d have difficulties getting out of bed first thing in the morning or by just sitting and watching TV, rather than while he was active. He’d been a martial arts instructor for years, but he knew something was not right with his body.

"I'd have pressure at my chest. I felt indigestion or what I thought was indigestion,” Hernández said.

He also had a main artery 75 percent blocked and two others almost fully blocked.

Both of these men are Hispanic, active and now heart patients, but they’re not alone. According to the American Heart Association, 48 percent of Hispanic men and 32 percent of Hispanic women have a cardiovascular disease.

It's an alarming number for the Latino community.

"We have to remember that the proportion of Latinos that are diabetic is very high and since that’s high than heart disease and stroke disease is even higher,” said Dr. Alberto Maldonado Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford.

As part of American Heart Month in February, Central Florida Regional Hospital wants to help raise awareness about heart health for Hispanics.

"We like the arroz con gandules, and you know … everything fried, but unfortunately that's not very good,” Dr. Maldonado said.

Doctors suggest making healthier choices in your diet and implementing exercise.

The hospital is hosting a free seminar in Spanish on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. To register, call 1-800-445-3392.