Avera Medical Minute AHH: Determine your risk for heart disease through Planet Heart screenings

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“My doctor suggested it because I’m high risk. I have high cholesterol,” said KSFY Meteorologist Shawn Cable.

Our own Shawn Cable invited us to tag along to his Planet Heart screening at Avera Heart Hospital.

“It’s good peace of mind to know where you stand in that area,” said Cable.

Cable received both a heart and vascular screening to determine his risk of heart disease and other life-threatening conditions. The screenings are recommended for men at age 40 and women at age 45.

“The vascular screening is for stroke, aneurism, and plaque in the arteries of the neck. Cardiac screening is the other part of Planet Heart and is for plaque in the heart, arteries and you go through a CAT scan,” said Lisa Miller, registered respiratory therapist.

“The thing that’s so amazing about it is that it is easy. You saw it. You go in, you don’t have any special clothes, they take care of you and it’s an hour and you’re out of here,” said Cable.

Patients go over their results immediately following their screenings and learn how they can improve their numbers if need be.

“If you can prevent somebody from having a heart attack, even if they have a huge high score, if they can get that opened up and get the blood flow restored to their heart and not have a heart attack, that’s huge,” said Miller.

Miller says age and family history are the only two risk factors that can’t be changed.

“All the other things – if the person is a smoker, has high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, poor diet, no exercise, overweight, lots of stress – those things all contribute to how we build plaque in the arteries and to heart disease. And if you can do something early about them and prevent that from happening, that’s our whole goal,” said Miller.

Cable says the knowledge he’s gained from Planet Heart is empowering.

“I’ve got an eight-year-old daughter. I don’t want to leave her hanging. To just know that I’m going down the right track and to get some advice with the diet and all the things to do and exercise, it’s priceless,” said Cable.

Through Planet Heart you can receive a heart screening for $50, a vascular screening for $50 or both for just $75.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.