Appropriately on this Valentine's Day we have a story that coincides with American Heart Month. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your sweetheart is to make sure they are taking care of their heart and thanks to Planet Heart you'll know for sure.
60 year old Larry Buysse is a grain farmer from rural Tracy, Minnesota, and like most men, doesn't go out of his way to go to the doctor. That changed after he experienced pain in his chest during last season's harvest.
Larry says, "We had worked several long days at a time and I would be climbing in and out of a bin and when I would come down I could feel the stress."
When Larry told his wife Bonnie about what he described as "chest pains" she immediately called 877-AT-AVERA and made him an appointment to go through the Planet Heart Check at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center.
Registered Nurse Monica Senden is the coordinator of Avera Marshall's Planet Heart. She says, "Planet Heart is cardiovascular screening for men who are 40 and older and women who are 45 and older or if they have family history they are unsure of, if they have a couple of risk factors or they don't know. It's a thorough cardiovascular assessment."
Screening also includes a C-T scan which is used to score the amount of calcium or plaque built up in the arteries. Studies suggest this calcium score is the best way to detect a heart attack before it happens.
They also screen your blood pressure, BMI (body mass index), cholesterol and blood sugar check.
Larry says, "It's certainly worth looking in to and something to check in to."
It turns out Larry didn't have a heart attack, but his calcium score came back 180 (0-10 is ideal) and since he is diabetic with a family history of heart disease, he automatically has 2 strikes going against him.
Larry says, "You know we had a concern, we went to the doctor and ended up doing a stress test and everything came out fine. It's nice not to wonder what's going on so you have a better idea what you're dealing with."
Larry knows he needs to start making some changes in his diet adding in more fruits and vegetables and exercising during the winter and his wife Bonnie will see to it he does for his heart and hers.
Avera Marshall added the Planet Heart check in July of 2009, a satellite program of the Avera Heart Hospital. It costs $50 and you can make appointment by calling the toll free number: 877-AT-AVERA. The same goes for Planet Heart at the Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls.