Heart Month in February is the perfect time of year to be thinking about your heart health! Prevention is so important! Ideally you never want to wait around for a problem to happen, right? Which is why it’s so smart to schedule a $29 heart and vascular screening at The Christ Hospital Health Network.
I chatted with Kathy Ziegler, Cardiovascular Imaging Services Manager, about the screening, which she says is recommended for anyone 60 years old or older and also anyone over the age of 50 with one or more of the following risk factors:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Family history of vascular disease, including stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, kidney failure, sudden cardiac death or abdominal aortic aneurysm.
But what symptoms should you look for if you think there may be a problem?
Symptoms to look for that may suggest carotid disease can be weakness/numbness on one side of the body, slurred speech, and loss of vision in one eye or the other. A symptom to look for that may suggest lower arterial disease is pain in the legs when walking that is relieved at rest. Symptoms to look for that may suggest abdominal aortic aneurysm are a pulsating abdominal mass. Finally, symptoms to look for that may suggest Atrial Fibrillation are palpitations and/or irregular heartbeat.
I personally love being involved with Go Red for Women with the American Heart Association and I know symptoms of a heart event may be different for women than men. I also asked Joel Reginelli, MD, interventional cardiologist from The Christ Hospital Physicians – Heart & Vascular, how women’s heart issues differ from men’s. He says women often present with “atypical” symptoms. They may not experience the classic warning signs. Women have the same rate of heart disease as men, but typically the onset is a decade later than men. Women often don’t derive the same benefit as men from medical and surgical therapies.
Good to know! We’re looking for prevention, right? So what’s the best ways to prevent a heart event? Dr. Reginelli says don’t use tobacco products of any kind, ever. Get 30-40 minutes of exercise at least 4-5 days per week, eat a diet low in processed foods, and high in vegetables, legumes, and fruits. Maintain a healthy weight and know your numbers: blood pressure, blood glucose, and lipids.
Today is a perfect day to schedule your $29 heart and vascular screening and stay heart healthy <3
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