Dr. Zachary F. Solomon is a trained thoracic surgeon who regularly helps patients with a family history of heart health issues. Dr. Zachary F. Solomon is always encouraged by the number of people who don’t accept the family history of heart health issues as their destiny. While it’s true that risk factors may rise, there’s plenty that people can do to get proactive about their heart health. Today, Dr. Zachary F. Solomon will discuss a few things everyone who has a family with a history of heart health struggles should do to lower their odds of heart disease.
Dr. Zachary F. Solomon notes that many patients are aware of heart disease in their family history but are unsure of the details. It can be beneficial to dig deeper into family history to see if there are inherent conditions. For instance, familial hypercholesterolemia and cardiomyopathy are both inherited conditions. Dr. Zachary F. Solomon recommends asking family members basic questions before visiting your physician. This will allow patients to provide their doctor with all the relevant information to formulate the most impactful game plan.
According to Dr. Zachary Solomon, here are some common heart health questions to ask family members:
- How many family members have documented heart attacks?
- How many family members have suffered a stroke?
- How many family members have been diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat?
- How many family members have been diagnosed with high cholesterol?
- How many family members have undergone heart procedures like a bypass?
- Were any family members under the age of 60 when they were diagnosed with these issues?
Once these answers are gathered, it is time to consider risk factors that are personal to your health. For instance, anyone, regardless of family history, is at an elevated risk of heart disease when they don’t regularly exercise, find themselves overweight or eat an unhealthy diet on a regular basis. Understanding these things early on will help a physician and their patient develop a plan to increase the likelihood of a healthy heart for years to come.
Another significant proactive step for people concerned about their family history of heart health issues is to schedule a heart-health screening. While risk factors can help people understand the general advice they should follow from a heart-health perspective, the screening will provide a thorough examination of what is occurring in the body at this moment. Health screenings are conducted with the hope that if the disease is present, it is spotted at the earliest possible stage. Many heart disease issues upon detection, can be lessened before serious disease issues occur.
Dr. Zachary F. Solomon points out that if the initial screening does spot an issue or a potential issue, additional tests may be set in motion. These tests include an electrocardiogram, which shows the heart’s electrical activity, and an echocardiogram, which produces images of the heart and shows blood flow and coronary activity. In some cases, a doctor may even prescribe a stress test. Stress tests usually involve a person running on a treadmill so that the doctor can see how well the heart reacts in situations where it is asked to pump more blood.
If all tests show no sign of disease, Dr. Zachary F. Solomon recommends an ever-vigilant approach to heart health. Elevated risk factors can be countered by exercise, healthy diet choices, and removing oneself from unnecessary stress. There are plenty of different ways to boost heart health and everyone should devise a personalized plan with their primary physician.