Happy heart, happy life

Preventive screenings help patients assess risk factors and have a healthy heart

Along with Valentine’s Day, February marks American Heart Month, a great time to give your heart some love.
Every 42 seconds someone has a heart attack in the United States. In a year, 610,000 Americans die from heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. But many heart conditions are preventable through early heart screenings.

WellStar North Fulton Hospital offers Know Your Heart, a screening that can help determine patients’ risk for heart disease, stroke and other serious conditions.

The WellStar Know Your Heart program is a preventive, self-pay screening program that offers two levels of testing performed at North Fulton Hospital. Patients can get basic or advanced screenings depending on their age, symptoms and risk factors.

“This is a very successful program offered by WellStar Health System and we’re excited to offer it here at North Fulton,” said Hunt Anderson, M.D., medical director of North Fulton’s cardiology program. “Oftentimes we know that big events like heart attacks or strokes could have been prevented if risk factors had been addressed, so it is important to take a proactive approach.”

The screening uses a combination of basic labs and a cardiac CT scans to identify heart disease before someone shows any signs or symptoms. Each screening includes a consultation where the patient receives education on how to improve risk factors going forward and if there is any risk that needs to be addressed immediately the patient gets referred to a cardiologist.

During the consultation patients receive risk factor education, diet, weight and exercise recommendations, as well as a personalized report to take home.

Prevention is key
Because heart disease can be silent, adults should have regular well checkups with their primary care physician starting as early as 20 years old. Basic tests should include checking blood pressure, cholesterol, signs of diabetes and body weight. The patient also has an electrocardiogram, where the heart’s electrical activities are translated into waves, revealing specific information about the heart’s health.
If necessary, a patient can also have a coronary calcium scan to check for any buildup in the arteries as well as more advanced cholesterol testing. When results reveal a problem, the primary care physician directs the patient to a cardiologist.

While you’re spending time honoring the special people in your life, remember the importance of keeping your hearts healthy too.
To determine eligibility and to schedule an appointment for a Know Your Heart screening call 770-756-STAR (7827).

To see a cardiologist at WellStar Cardiovascular Medicine in Roswell, call
770-410-4520. The office is located at 4500 Hospital Boulevard, Suite 230.