Heart specialist Gaurav Shah, DO, and his wife, Deshna, take care of their hearts by following a healthy diet that is low in fat, cholesterol and salt. They incorporate aerobic activity into their daily lives. And they make sure to have their physicals and routine lab work done annually.
Last year, during Heart Month, they took an additional step to care for their hearts. For the first time, they had heart scans.
A simple, non-invasive test
A heart scan is a simple, non-invasive imaging test that detects problems — such as calcium buildup in the coronary arteries — that can lead to heart disease, heart attacks and other serious conditions. Finding these problems early allows you and your doctor to discuss any necessary treatments or help you take steps to reduce risks and improve your heart health.
The scan is recommended for people between ages 40 and 75 who have not previously been diagnosed with heart disease and have two or more risk factors. Those include diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, history of smoking, family history of heart disease, high cholesterol or physical inactivity.
Detecting underlying issues before they become problems
An interventional cardiologist at RUSH Copley Medical Center, Shah recommends the scan to a select group of patients. This year, he followed his own advice and scheduled himself and his wife for the scan. He was motivated by their age and risk factors — both he and his wife have family histories of heart problems.
“I have thought about it but I’ve never done it,” he says. “I’m over 40 now so I qualify.”
The Shahs are happy to report that their results were reassuring, and they are motivated to keep practicing healthy habits.
“The results put our minds at ease,” Shah says, but adds, “We must still maintain a healthy lifestyle and ensure a heart healthy diet and exercise program.”