Vim & Vigor - Spring 2020 - UVA - 15

15

Pediatrics guidelines say children should have
their cholesterol checked between ages 9 and
11 and again between 17 and 21, but very
few kids are screened. One study found only
18 percent of pediatricians were ordering cholesterol tests for their preteen patients. More
pediatricians-31 percent-ordered cholesterol tests for their 17- to 21-year-old patients.
"It's just not on many pediatricians' radars,"
Osborne says.
Young adults have a better chance of being
screened if they're regularly seeing a physician, but that isn't often the case.
"In their 20s or 30s, most people are pretty
healthy and so they don't see doctors," Osborne
says. "If you don't show up to the doctor in
the first place, then you can't get your cholesterol checked."
All adults at increased risk for heart disease
should begin cholesterol screening at age
20, according to the U.S. Preventive Services
Task Force. Men at average risk should begin
screening at 35, and women at average risk
should start at 45.
No matter what the cholesterol screenings
indicate, people should still strive to live a
heart-healthy lifestyle by being physically active
at least 30 minutes a day five days a week, eating a diet rich in whole foods and not smoking.
"If you look at LDL cholesterol specifically,
diet and exercise can offer about a 5 to 10
percent reduction," Osborne says. Even more
important, a healthy diet and exercise prevent
diabetes and high blood pressure, conditions
that increase risk for heart disease.

ILLUSTRATION BY DAVID MILAN

EARLY HEART ATTACKS AND
LONG-TERM HEALTH

The unfortunate truth is that people who have
a heart attack early in life are much more
likely to have another one. But the news isn't
all bad. With cardiac rehabilitation, medication and lifestyle changes, people who had a
first heart attack at a young age can live a long
and healthy life.
"With the knowledge we have of what causes
heart attacks and the current tools we have
available," Osborne says, "at least 80 percent of
subsequent heart attacks are preventable."
Completing a cardiac rehabilitation program
can greatly reduce survivors' future risk of
heart attack and rehospitalization. In fact, the

Think You're
Having a
Heart Attack?

Get to the hospital right away. At UVA
Health's newly expanded Emergency
Department, cardiac experts can stop the
damage to the heart as quickly as possible.
Learn more at uvahealth.com/emergency.

American Heart Association reports cardiac
rehab has been found to reduce risk for not
only heart disease but all causes of death by up
to 47 percent. And yet, less than a third of heart
attack patients participate in cardiac rehab,
according to Million Hearts, an initiative by the
Department of Health and Human Services.
Million Hearts recommends heart attack
survivors look for a rehab program that consists of 36 one-hour sessions for optimal risk
reduction and include supervised exercise,
education on nutrition and heart-healthy living, individual treatment planning, psychological assessment and final outcomes assessment.
After Wolverton's cardiologist opened his
artery and placed a mesh stent inside to keep it
from collapsing, Wolverton was released with
a bevy of medications and a prescription for
cardiac rehabilitation. He diligently followed
his doctor's advice and attended every rehab
session. And though he didn't see himself as
that out of shape at the time of his heart attack,
Wolverton dropped more than 50 pounds by
exercising and living a life of moderation.
"I'm not going to be a vegetarian, but I have
cut way back on red meat to about once a
quarter," he says. "I still have fast food sometimes, but not daily like I used to."
Wolverton, now 31, is also on a lifelong
regimen of aspirin, cholesterol medication
and blood pressure medication. He doesn't
mind. He has another reason to stick to a
heart-healthy lifestyle: He and his wife welcomed a second child-a baby boy-a year
to the week after his heart attack.
"You can't let a heart attack be the end of
the world," Wolverton says. "All you can do is
try your best to find out what caused it and
learn what you can do to prevent it from happening again." *

Symptoms
You Should
Never Ignore

Because Bearett Wolverton
was young and his chest
pain came and went, he
didn't seek treatment for
his heart attack right away.
But heart attacks can happen at any age.
Chest pain is the most
common heart attack
symptom in both men
and women. Other symptoms include:
Chest pressure or
discomfort
Discomfort or tingling
in the arms, back, shoulders or jaw
Shortness of breath
Cold sweat
Fatigue
Nausea or vomiting
Fainting or dizziness
If you experience these
symptoms, even if they
come and go, call 911.
If you've already had a
heart attack, it's important
you familiarize yourself
with all of the symptoms.
Not all heart attacks feel
the same, even in the
same person, according to
the American College of
Cardiology. So your next
one might be very different from your first.

VIM & VIGOR SPRING 2020


http://www.uvahealth.com/emergency

Vim & Vigor - Spring 2020 - UVA

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