It's Valentine's Day, smack dab in the middle of American Heart Month, and we at Adirondack Health ask you to spend some time taking care of your heart. Heart disease is more common than you might think, and there are things you can do to help prevent it.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults in the United States. It occurs when plaque develops in the arteries and blood vessels that lead to the heart. This blocks important nutrients and oxygen from reaching your heart.
Ways to help prevent heart disease:
The Heart Center at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake offers the latest innovations in cardiac care and clinical therapies. We see patients with common heart problems, such as chest pain, arterial disease, valve disease, rhythm disorders and heart failure. We listen carefully to each patient’s concerns and develop the very best evaluation and treatment plan.
“We don’t treat numbers, we treat the patient,” said Dr. Anthony Tramontano, the Heart Center’s medical director. “My goal is to empower patients. Heart disease often develops over many years to decades, so I am always trying to help a patient understand the link between their daily habits and their overall heart health.”
Exercise stress testing is one way the Heart Center gauges a patient’s risk of having a cardiac event (any incident that may cause damage to the heart). It looks at how much, how long and what level of exercise a patient can do. The testing is performed while monitoring the patient's vital signs, like pulse and blood pressure, and symptoms. Echocardiography or nuclear imaging may also be used to help with the test.
Another non-invasive tool used at the Heart Center is the Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk Assessment. This test helps predict a patient’s risk of having a cardiac event in 10 years, based on a patient’s age, cholesterol, blood pressure and some other factors like smoking and family history.
In 2019, 27% of the 10-Year ASCVD Risk Assessments documented in the Heart Center showed the patient being at high-risk, which means they have a 20% chance or greater of having a cardiac event.
Dr. Tramontano said an astounding one in four people die of heart disease in the U.S. each year, and that people can make a big difference in their heart health with small steps to a healthier lifestyle like learning to eat healthier, introducing small amounts of exercise, quitting smoking, monitoring their blood pressure and cholesterol, and making an appointment with their doctor if they experience symptoms or have a family history of heart disease.
“People get into trouble when they ignore symptoms. Time is muscle, and the more time you wait when having a heart attack, the more trouble you are going to be in. Are you getting out of breath doing something that you could do with no problem a few months or a year ago? Are you getting chest discomfort? Perhaps there is some new-onset swelling in your ankles? If so, go see your doctor; go see a cardiologist. We are here to help.”