Focus on preventive cardiology
By Stephen W. Parcell, ND
- There is more to preventing heart attacks and stroke than seeing your primary doctor for a cholesterol test and EKG.
- Athletes and active people over 40 should have atherosclerotic plaque in the carotid artery and coronary arteries evaluated.
- Heart attacks are more likely to occur during exercise.
- Masters athletes may develop changes to the heart muscle that can be dangerous. Echocardiograms determine if heart function is normal and are especially important in endurance athletes.
- Good amounts of aerobic exercise and a great diet does not preclude you from having cardiovascular disease.
- Heart disease is often asymptomatic: the first symptom can be a heart attack. It could be massive (or not).
- Family history is a risk factor regardless of personal history. Even good lab work and negative cardiovascular workups at the cardiologist do not remove risk.
- Advanced cardiovascular blood work that looks at inflammation, genetics, hormones, cholesterol particle size and nutritional markers can be billed to insurance.
- Not all people with high cholesterol should be treated the same. Individualized treatment is important.
- Heart scans (calcium scoring) and carotid ultrasounds enable quantification of plaque burden.
Thank you for your attention!