Simple heart screenings lead to healthy lifestyle changes
It’s been about a year since Rob Russell underwent a heart screening at the Advocate Sherman Outpatient Center in Elgin, Ill., that showed lifestyle changes were needed to prevent serious cardiovascular problems down the road.
With a family history of heart disease, the 47 year old with diabetes was a prime candidate for the risk assessment, which showed he needed to get active and lose weight. Since the screening, he joined a health club and lost 10 pounds and also is taking medication to slow the progression of heart disease.
“I am a purpose-driven person, and these results woke me up in a sense that change was needed,” says Russell, the coroner in Kane County, Ill. “Being a typical suburban husband and father, time is typically devoted to the ‘immediate’ needs. The results brought my health as one of those needs.”
Russell was prompted to get a screening due to the fact the he was seeing more and more men in their 40s come through the coroner’s office who appeared healthy on the outside, but died of sudden heart attacks.
Russell is not alone in observing that cardiovascular deaths are on the rise. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. and the number of heart disease-related deaths is expected to rise by more than 36 percent to more than 23.6 million by 2030.
“Ignoring potential problems doesn’t make them go away,” Russell says. “Everyone has an example of a sudden death in their inner circle. People should absolutely get these tests done.”
“People need to know their numbers, as these are key indicators of your risk for common killers such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes,” says Dr. Raminder Singh, a cardiologist with the Advocate Heart Institute, on staff at Advocate Sherman Hospital. “The screenings are great tools to start a proactive conversation with your physician about your risks, and create an action plan for addressing those that are within your control.”
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