One of the biggest news stories this week is Rep. Paul Ryan joining Mitt Romney in the Presidential race on the Republican ticket. As with any candidate, the public immediately wants to know their background, voting history and position on hot button political issues. However, the health of a candidate is also a major consideration for many voters, not to mention the competition. When he was 16, Ryan’s father suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 55. Ryan’s grandfather suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 57, and his great-grandfather died from a heart attack at the age of 59.
Recently we shared the story of a patient with a very similar family health history. In his early 50s, this patient had no symptoms of heart disease, but he was worried that his fate might be following those of his father and brother; both suffered heart attacks in their 50s. He convinced his primary care physician he needed a stress test. The stress test indicated there was some lack of blood flow, resulting in a follow up angiogram. A 90% blockage was discovered in the angiogram. That discovery “changed his destiny”, according to Chief of Cardiology at Oklahoma Heart Institute, Dr. Wayne Leimbach. Today this patient is closely monitored with follow up stress tests, eats well and exercises regularly and is on medication therapy to ensure against future heart attacks.
What should you do if you are in the same situation as Rep. Paul Ryan with a strong family history of heart disease and heart attacks? Be proactive. Ryan engages in intensive exercise including P90X, and keeps his body fat between 6-8%. The best thing you can do for your health is to take control of your destiny. Talk with your physician about your diet, exercise, BMI and other risk factors for heart disease like blood pressure and cholesterol. You can also schedule a life-saving screening to look more closely at your risk for a heart attack.
The majority of heart attacks are preventable. Take the necessary steps to change your family history and ensure a long, healthy life. For more information on life-saving screenings, please click here. You can also call 918-592-0999 or schedule a life-saving screening online.