Be Heart Smart
Many people aren’t even aware they are at risk of cardiovascular disease until they suffer a major health event, such as a heart attack, aneurysm rupture or stroke.
Because cardiovascular disease can be accompanied by vague symptoms or none at all, learning your risk and taking preventive measures can save your life.
Dr. Gholamreza Khoshnevis, cardiologist at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital, says you can help prevent life-threatening heart disease and other related conditions from developing and progressing by taking steps, such as:
• Leading a healthier lifestyle by being active and following a heart-friendly diet
• Getting regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks
• Scheduling a heart scan and vascular screening
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association (AHA). “Being aware of your risk factors is key in preventing the onset of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions,” Khoshnevis said.
Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital offers heart and vascular screening services to help you understand your risk. The screenings use imaging technology, including CT scan and ultrasound, to test for signs like calcium buildup of plaque on the artery walls and thickness of the arteries, as well as checking for blockages and other potential signs of cardiovascular disease.
But should you schedule a heart scan? Khoshnevis answers some common questions about these minimally invasive procedures.
Q: Should everyone have a screening test?
A: No. Screenings are beneficial for men between 40 and 65 and women between 45 and 70, or if you’re at intermediate risk. Risk factors include family history, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. This is a screening exam to assist in detecting potential diseases.
Q: If I have a known heart condition, can I still get these tests?
A: The heart scan and heart scan plus are not necessary for those who have coronary artery disease, heart stents of any kind or have had coronary bypass surgery. For these patients, we recommend an evaluation by a cardiologist.
Q: How long will the test take?
A: The heart scan takes approximately 15 minutes. The vascular screening and the vascular age screening (CIMT) each take approximately 30 minutes. The heart scan plus takes about one hour.
Q: Why should I have my screenings at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital?
A: Your results will be processed in an accredited lab and evaluated by either a cardiologist, a vascular surgeon or a radiologist who specializes in heart and vascular conditions. Your results will be sent to your doctor and/or you within seven business days. We suggest you also share the results with your primary care doctor or cardiologist.
Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital is open and caring for all of our community and has implemented the following enhanced safety measures in all of its doctors’ offices and clinics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the health and well-being of our patients:
•Screening all patients when scheduling appointments for symptoms and exposure risk
•Minimizing the number of patients we are seeing per day in our clinics by expanding virtual services and staggering in-person appointments
•Using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended testing for our employees
•Screening all patients upon arrival with temperature checks and an exposure questionnaire
•Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) while providing patient care
•Reorganizing waiting rooms and check-in lines to ensure social distancing
Implementing additional sanitation processes to disinfect all equipment and surface
To learn more about your risk of cardiovascular disease, or to schedule a screening at Houston Methodist Baytown, visit houstonmethodist.org/baytown, or call 281.837.7587.
About Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital
Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital has provided Baytown and east Harris, Liberty and Chambers counties with quality medical care since opening its doors in 1948. The hospital has grown throughout the years with the community, providing comprehensive care at all stages of life. As a health care leader, the hospital is proud to have a fully integrated residency program focused on educating and inspiring future practitioners. Today, Houston Methodist Baytown provides some of the most advanced and innovative procedures while never wavering from its focus on compassionate and patient-centered care. Houstonmethodist.org/baytown.