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Neighborhood Health Watch: Dr Ryan Melchior on risk factors for heart disease

Neighborhood Health Watch: Dr  Ryan Melchior on risk factors for heart disease

(upbeat music) – [Announcer] Neighborhood Health Watch is sponsored by the doctors of HCA Virginia Health System. – The topic today in
Neighborhood Health Watch is heart disease, important
risk factors and screening. You can prevent heart disease by living a heart healthy lifestyle. Quit smoking, manage your stress, exercise for 30 minutes
everyday if you can, eat a diet rich in fruits and
vegetables and whole grains, keep your weight in check, and get enough quality sleep. Dr. Ryan Melchior, with Chippenham Hospital’s
Levinson Heart Institute is here with us on First at Four to help us get informed, but let’s start out with what is the most common
form of heart disease and what causes it? – Sure, so the most common
form of heart disease is coronary artery disease
or atherosclerosis, and that’s essentially thickening
of the walls of the artery and it’s cholesterol deposits and calcification that lead to the narrowing of
the arteries over time, which can lead to chest pain called angina and also to heart attacks down the road as well. – [Diane] What’s the
likely outcome or prognosis once a person gets that dreaded
heart disease diagnosis? – Sure, so there’s a lot of factors that go into that. One of the really important factors is the size of the heart
attack that they had and we can tell that from looking at a echocardiogram and also the specific anatomy of their coronary arteries meaning how severe the
disease is in their arteries. They’re really the two big things that affect the prognosis. – And who should get screened any why is screening so important? – So screening’s really important and the reason for that is that a lot of the risk factors that lead to coronary
disease are modifiable, so things like knowing
your blood pressure, for diabetics, knowing
your hemoglobin A1C, knowing your cholesterol. All those things are the risk factors which you can modify and are important to watch. – [Diane] And those are the
numbers that’s important? – Exactly, those are numbers to watch. The other thing that we sometimes consider are for people who have a strong family history and some kind of that moderate risk. Sometimes we’ll get a CT
calcium score of the heart. What that is is essentially a CAT scan that shows whether or not you’re developing atherosclerosis at a younger age and for patients that
have a high calcium score, it lets us really be aggressive with our risk factor modification. It lets us put them on high
dose cholesterol medicines. Sometimes if that score’s really high, it can even lead to stress testing. – What happens during screening? – So, screening- – What can a person expect? – Yeah, absolutely. A screening’s actually very easy. It’s just like getting a normal CAT scan, so you basically lay there. It’s a quick set of pictures that we take and it lets us really
analyze those arteries and see if people are
developing that atherosclerosis. – Alright, is there a way to
prepare for the screening? – Yeah so the testing, there’s really not a whole lot to it. We just have you go to
the scanner that we have. It’s usually out in the west end where we have you go and it’s a quick and easy scan and then you follow up with one of us at VCS to discuss the results and determine where we go from there. – Quickly, is there a
common mistake people make when they are experiencing
some sort of heart issue? – There is. The biggest mistake really is to kind of blow it off. A lot of people think
this is just indigestion or just some mild shortness of breath. But really the important thing to know is if you start having symptoms to go get checked early. – Alright, Dr. Melchior. Thank you so much for
joining us at First at Four. – No problem.

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