Page 26 - Scene Magazine February 2022 47-02
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  Health Scene
BY DR. HYE RIM SMITH, Bronson Advanced Cardiac Healthcare
    February, we take time to recognize American Heart Month. This is an op- portunity for people of all ages to take stock of their cardiovascular health. However, because of its severity and prevalence, heart disease deserves more than just a month of recognition. Heart health should always be a part of your ongoing health journey.
• Family history of heart disease
• High blood pressure or cholesterol • Diabetes (over the age of 30)
• History of smoking
• Previous heart attack
• Exercise Stress Test: During this exam, you are hooked up to heart monitoring equipment, typically while walking on a treadmill. You will exercise for as long as possible, while the incline or pace increases and becomes more difficult. The re- sults show the heart’s response to the stress of exercise.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that as of September 2020, about 6.2 million Americans
have been diagnosed with heart failure. Heart failure occurs when the heart isn’t pumping blood to the rest of the body the way it should. This means that cells don’t get the oxygen and nutrient-rich blood they need to function properly.
Warning signs of heart disease include:
• Electrocardiogram (EKG): This
is a painless test where small elec- trodes (plastic discs) are placed on your chest. A wire running from the electrodes to an EKG machine shows irregular heart rhythms.
How do you know if you have heart failure or heart disease? People over the age of 35 with any of the following risk factors should seek out a heart screening:
• Trouble breathing when lying down or resting
• Computer Tomography (CT) Heart Scan: A CT scan creates detailed pictures of the inside of your body that enables a heart specialist to detect evidence of heart disease, even before you may have any noticeable symptoms.
American Heart Month: Time to Check Your Heart Health
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death
in America, and accounts for more hospital stays than all forms of cancer combined? Each
• Blood test: This test includes a blood sample, typically taken from the arm, and then analyzed in a lab.
  Heart failure typically develops slowly and is a chronic, long-term condition. Although this form
of heart disease is common, it may be “silent” and can go undiagnosed until significant symptoms arise. Over 50 percent of men and
64 percent of women who die suddenly from a heart attack have no previous symptoms.
 Difficulty breathing
• Echocardiography (“echo”): This ultrasound test uses sound waves to examine the heart.
• Shortness of breath when doing sim- ple activities such as walking stairs
• Waking up breathless
• Frequent coughing
• Coughing that produces mucus or
It is important to be aware and hon- est with a primary care provider about any symptoms you may be experienc- ing. Having a conversation with doctor about your family history of heart disease can also be valuable. If you or a loved one is concerned about your heart health, contact your primary care pro- vider for a diagnostic test. To determine if you have heart failure, a doctor may perform some of these diagnostic tests
• Dry cough when lying flat Fatigue
• Tired easily
• Swelling of feet/ankles/legs
If you are experiencing any signs
or symptoms of heart failure, call your doctor right away. If you are experi- encing difficulty breathing, heaviness or tightness in your chest, or trouble thinking clearly, call 911 right away. You may be experiencing a heart attack.
and procedures:
• Physical exam: At this exam,
Hye Rim Smith, DO, is a cardiol- ogist at Bronson Advanced Cardiac Healthcare. Dr. Smith can be reached at (269) 373-1222. Bronson Method- ist Hospital in Kalamazoo has been named by Fortune and IBM Watson Health as one of the nation’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals. You can learn more about Bronson’s heart and vascular program by visiting bronson- If you or someone you know has risk factors for heart disease and would like to schedule a heart scan, please call (269) 341-8700 or visit
the doctor will ask about your medical history, check your weight and blood pressure,
and listen to your heart and lungs.
• Chest X-ray: This exam can be taken while you stand up or lie down on a table. Results reveal if your heart is enlarged or if your lungs are congest- ed.

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