As February and Heart Health Month end, we wanted to share some tips to help keep your heart healthy. On Health Happens, our weekly Facebook Live show, we talked to Dr. Doug Christensen. He’s a pediatric cardiologist at Rocky Mountain Pediatric Cardiology at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.
He mentioned something new when it comes to monitoring kids’ heart health, he says they should start getting their cholesterol checked at age 10, according to the American Heart Association, “When they turn 10 should have a cholesterol test done to look for any signs of genetic cholesterol abnormalities, other abnormalities. Ten years old really is the new time they’re supposed to have their first cholesterol screening,” says Dr. Christensen.
He also says exercising and eating right is the best thing any of us, child or adult, can do for our heart, “With adults and kids it’s getting out and exercising, active lifestyle and eating right. Eating fruits and eating vegetables and keeping your weight down. Those are the things that just promote heart health.”
Some people are born with congenital heart disease (CHD) and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children has a new program for people as they age to manage their condition, “We’ve started an adult congenital cardiology program to follow kids once they become adults and look at those unique problems they have as they get older,” explains Dr. Christensen.
To keep your heart healthy, it’s important to know your numbers. This article by the Cleveland Clinic outlines the 7 numbers we should all know to live heart-healthy. They include LDL cholesterol number, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, triglycerides, blood pressure, and fasting glucose.
While we are talking about heart health, we should mention that at the 9Health Fair this spring we are offering a new screening that may better define your risk for heart disease. It’s called a High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP) screening). Elevated levels of hsCRP are an independent risk factor for heart disease.
The test measures inflammation and recent research shows that chronic inflammation may occur within arteries of the heart and may play a role in the development and progression of heart disease. If you already know you might be at risk for heart disease, you may want to consider getting this screening. As with all our screenings, we encourage you to share the results with your healthcare provider.