February–Love and Hearts
February is all about love and hearts, not only celebrated on Valentine’s Day but also traditionally observed throughout the month as American Heart Month, a time to learn more about heart disease, understand if you are at risk, and take immediate steps to reduce that risk.
While smoking, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol are the three main risk factors for heart disease, other risk factors include obesity, diabetes, lack of exercise, and an unhealthy diet. There is an abundance of information available on how to reduce those risk factors, but briefly they are:
- Stop smoking.
- Lose weight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat heart-healthy food.
Your physician can be your first go-to person to help you with smoking cessation, a weight loss program, and diet and exercise recommendations suitable just for you.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among adults over age 35, but heart disease affects the young and the old, so it’s wise to be heart-healthy throughout your life and to be aware of any family history of heart disease. There is no age to start living a heart-healthy life, because the time is start is now. If you’re concerned about your status in terms of heart health, here are several simple tests you may consider.
Calcium Scoring Detects Calcification in Coronary Arteries
SIR-Florida offers the Calcium Scoring test to determine if there is any calcification in your coronary arteries. Calcium is not normally present in the coronary arteries that supply oxygenated blood to the heart, so its presence may be an indicator of coronary artery disease. While this is a screening test, it is an excellent predictor of a cardiovascular event. Read more about Calcium Scoring here.
EndoPAT® Test for Arterial Function
SIR-Florida’s sister facility, RevitaLife Vitality Center of Sarasota (RVC), performs the Endopat® test to evaluate endothelial function, the medical term for arterial function. In the early stages of cardiovascular disease, plaque may develop in the arteries and lead to a condition known as atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. When excess plaque is present, the endothelial cells, located in the blood vessels, cannot dilate sufficiently to regulate the flow of blood. Read more about EndoPAT®.
Blood Cholesterol Testing
High blood cholesterol levels have long been associated with heart disease and stroke. While total cholesterol may be an indicator of risk, the number and density of the LDL (bad) cholesterol particles has even greater significance. A simple blood test at RVC will provide you with valuable information about LDL, HDL (good) cholesterol, plaque formation, and cardiovascular disease. Read more about Blood Cholesterol Testing.
Cleveland Heart Specialty Test
Some heart attacks or strokes occur in individuals who have normal cholesterol levels. In these cases, inflammation may be present and may serve as a strong contributor to heart disease. Inflammation Testing, along with Blood Cholesterol Testing, provides a more complete assessment of your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all, and strive to be heart healthy!