Cardiologist underscores importance of heart checkups

While routine checkups are often scheduled months in advance for teeth cleaning or an optometrist appointment, getting a regular heart checkup is not considered a priority for many. 

Dr. Ravi Kishore, senior consultant and adult cardiologist at Health City Cayman Islands, is urging the Cayman community to understand their risk of future heart disease and to include cardiac care in their annual screening regimen.  

Cardiac health screenings are becoming increasingly popular, with many organizations requiring key employees to receive cardiac-specific testing, where a lifestyle discovery assessment is performed to understand stress levels, nutrition, exercise and other factors contributing to cardiac health, he said.  

With the latest advances in technology, heart testing and cardiovascular fitness evaluations are becoming less invasive and incredibly detailed, giving cardiologists and physicians a thorough overview of patients’ cardiac health, a tool that should not be underestimated, Dr. Ravi said.  

Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year, a number that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030, according to the American Heart Association. While there is an alarming statistic – cardiovascular disease claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined – the American Heart Association has identified “Life’s Simple 7” – seven key health factors and behaviors that increase risk of heart disease and stroke.  

Smoking 

One of the top three leading risk factors for disease. In 2012, there were approximately 6,300 new cigarette smokers every day, including an alarming number of youth smokers.  

Physical activity 

About one in every three adults in the United States report participating in no physical activity and 27 percent of students don’t meet the American Heart Association recommendation of 60 minutes of exercise a day. 

Healthy diet 

Less than 1 percent of U.S. adults meet the AHA’s definition for “Ideal Healthy Diet” – largely due to increased consumption of high sodium, processed and packaged foods.  

Overweight/obesity 

In 2008, an estimated 1.46 billion adults worldwide were overweight or obese which leads to endless health issues, including increased chances of heart disease. 

Cholesterol 

Nearly one of every three Americans has high levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and low levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind). 

High blood pressure 

The incidence of hypertension is expected to increase about 8 percent between 2013 and 2030 globally. 

Blood sugar/diabetes 

Diabetes rates are rapidly growing, with almost 9 percent of the U.S. population having diabetes and 35 percent of Americans having pre-diabetes. 

While the statistics are alarming, Dr. Ravi said there are preventive measures that can help avoid many forms of heart disease. Assessing your lifestyle is the first step to identifying areas where you can improve your cardiac care and evaluate your “Simple 7.”  

He said viewing and treating one’s health as a holistic system is important to developing effective heart-healthy habits that are part of your daily regime, and he urged people to speak to their physician “to understand your risks for cardiac disease and be an advocate for your health.”  

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