HealthWatch-Heart health

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 6:44 PM MST
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There are few things more important than heart health. And there are ways you can try to stay on top of it. Doctor Fawzi Ameer from the Monument Health Heart and Vascular Institute fills you in in this week’s edition of HealthWatch.

“Hello. I’m Dr. Fawzi Ameer and I’m a cardiologist at Monument Health Heart and Vascular Institute. I was born in Rapid City, South Dakota and raised here as well. February is Heart Month. And despite the progress we’ve made, heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States. The good news is heart disease is very preventable. And with coronary calcium scoring, it’s more predictable than ever. First, let’s talk a little bit about prevention. A diet of vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and lean protein will keep your heart healthy. You need to minimize trans fats, red meat, processed meat and refined carbohydrates and sweetened beverages. Adults should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. Adults with obesity might need some counseling and caloric restriction to help with weight loss. For adults with Type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes like improving your diet and implementing exercise plans are very crucial. On the prediction side, calcium scoring can help see how healthy your heart really is. Coronary arteries are the vessels that provide oxygen rich blood to your heart. And thoracic plaque, which is made of fat, calcium and other substances, can progress, build up and narrow those arteries. So to detect that buildup, your doctor may order a cardiac calcium score, known as a heart scan. It’s a non-invasive and it’s a painless CT scan of your heart. Over the years, your cardiologist can track changes in your arteries and take steps to slow that buildup. If you’re between the ages of 40 and 75 and want to be proactive about preventing heart disease, it’s a great idea to discuss with your primary doctor or cardiologist, whether you qualify for a coronary artery calcium score. For HealthWatch, I’m Dr. Fawzi Ameer.”