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Alberto E. Rodriguez  /  Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 13: Actress Jennie Garth arrives at the National Kidney Foundation's "KEEP it Hollywood" event on March 13, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Access Hollywood
updated 5/26/2009 7:26:27 PM ET 2009-05-26T23:26:27

Jennie Garth is no stranger to the importance of heart health. Not only did the actress lose her father to heart disease, she is also now revealing details about her own heart ailment to Access Hollywood.

“I’ve been affected by heart disease practically my whole life,” Garth recently told Access’ Tony Potts at an American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women BetterU Program event. “My father has struggled with heart disease since he was 50, and I lost him a year ago.”

Having heart disease on both sides of her family has inspired her to talk for the first time about the aliment she discovered seven years ago during her first trip to a cardiologist.

“I have a leaky valve,” she explained. “And it’s a common thing. A lot of people have it, They don’t know they have it… [it] leaks blood.”

Garth said at times she actually feels it happening.

“It’s your connection to your heart… your artery, the main artery that goes to your heart,” she said. “It sort of flutters open and shut sort of a thing, so you… it’s weird because sometimes when I’m resting I can feel a little weird fluttering.”

Though she’s able to currently lead a normal active life, she noted that trouble could arise as she ages.

“Down the road it’s something that could get more complicated or it could not,” she explained. “People have had valve replacements and that kind of thing… but I’m prepared, that’s the key.”

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