Mountain and stream

Focus on preventive cardiology

By Stephen W. Parcell, ND  

  1. There is more to preventing heart attacks and stroke than seeing your primary doctor for a cholesterol test and EKG.
  2. Athletes and active people over 40 should have atherosclerotic plaque in the carotid artery and coronary arteries evaluated.
  3. Heart attacks are more likely to occur during exercise.
  4. 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.
  5. Good amounts of aerobic exercise and a great diet does not preclude you from having cardiovascular disease.
  6. Heart disease is often asymptomatic: the first symptom can be a heart attack. It could be massive (or not).
  7. 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.
  8. Advanced cardiovascular blood work that looks at inflammation, genetics, hormones, cholesterol particle size and nutritional markers can be billed to insurance.
  9. Not all people with high cholesterol should be treated the same. Individualized treatment is important.
  10. Heart scans (calcium scoring) and carotid ultrasounds enable quantification of plaque burden.

Thank you for your attention!