If you are 40 or older, smoke, have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history of heart disease you would be wise to make a trip to Planet Heart; a heart screening program offered at the Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls. Nancy Naeve Brown watched as a very familiar face with only one of those risk factors got his ticker checked.
Most of you know Shawn Cable as the gregarious, jovial, sometimes singing, sometimes accordion playing but always accurate morning meteorologist on KSFY. Many of you may not know he has been fighting a risk factor for heart disease long before he became one of the most popular people on local TV.
"My cholesterol is through the roof. When I was in my early 20's I had my cholesterol checked as a fluke because I had a friend who worked at a lab. It came back over 400, she did it again, it came back over 400 and she said you better get to the doctor tomorrow," Shawn said.
Shawn's been taking a cholesterol lowering medication for years, but this year his primary care physician strongly suggested he go through Planet Heart and get vascular screening done at the Avera Heart Hospital. The recommended age for patients to get screened is 40 for men, 45 for women. Even though Shawn is only 38, doctor's orders and his history of high cholesterol qualified him. Vascular Technician Val McGlothlen checked Shawn's carotid artery, abdominal aorta for an aneurysm and did a blood pressure check on his ankles to make sure he doesn't have peripheral artery disease. He passed with flying colors on all three.
Next Shawn went over to radiology to get a CAT scan of his heart. The Avera Heart Hospital now offers the latest in imaging technology: a 4-D Flash CT Scan. It's one of the worlds fastest. In less than one second the CT provides high definition images of the heart. Because of its speed it means your exposure to radiation is significantly reduced with this machine. This will show if Shawn has any calcium in his coronary arteries. Calcium Scoring is a test that will tell you your risk of developing coronary artery disease. Like a golf score, the lower the better. Zero is best.
Shawn met with RN Deb Howell next to get his cholesterol tested, go over his lifestyle and review his calcium score which came back at 381. That's considered high for his age, but still under the 400 mark to warrant an appointment with a cardiologist.
"He needs to stay on his Crestor his medication for cholesterol and keep exercising, maybe add more and make some diet changes, "Deb said.
"I kind of expected there would be something. I'm just glad they aren't wheeling me to the ER. It's nice to now, which is the case for anyone. I need to do a better job of watching what I eat, exercise more and this kind of proves it. I've got a little 2 and a half year old girl. I don't want little Norah to be without a daddy and I don't want to be without my little Norah, "Shawn said.
And I don't want to be without my morning TV partner-in-crime and friend.
Shawn is planning on meeting with an Avera Heart Hospital Registered Dietitian to also go over what specific changes he can make to help boost his HDL, his good cholesterol, which was pretty low.
Planet Heart costs $50, vascular screening costs $50 but you can get both for only $75. Call 1-877-AT-AVERA (1-877-282-8372) for more information or to schedule an appointment or check out www.PlanetHeartScreening.com