Charlie and I went to the Heart Hospital on Tuesday morning for our appointments for a cardiovascular risk assessment. They call the program Planet Heart.
The assessment includes all of the following for only $50:
Calcium Score CT – a CT (computerized tomography) of your heart
BMI (body mass index)
Cholesterol and blood sugar check
I expected my risk factors were low and I passed with flying colors. My calcium score was zero - that made me extremely happy and a little proud since the nurse made a bid deal of the score. She said in her line of work it's refreshing to see a perfect score! The CT scan was an interesting experience - ever see the movie Contact with Jodi Foster? I felt like I was about to take flight into a series of wormholes when the CT spun around me!
In the past my HDL (good cholesterol) has been a little low but I finally have it up to where it should be, most likely a result of exercising which is the most effective in raising your HDL.
Mainly I made the appointment to get Charlie to go. And although his overall assessment wasn't serious (he was relieved they didn't admit him!), it did indicate moderate risk of cardiovascular disease. His blood pressure and total cholesterol were a little elevated. A calcium score of 27 is still relatively low but it did bump him into the moderate risk category. WebMD explains the calcium score CT.
He is frustrated because getting 30 minutes of exercise that raises your heart rate several times a week was emphasized and he doesn't understand why this is so important, especially since he works long hours in a physically demanding job. I'll get back to cooking more healthy foods and try to have left overs he likes that he can eat for lunch rather than eating at the cafe (heart attack menu) every day.
He'll make an appointment to see an internist and get a check up to see what the doctor advises. With his dad dying of a stroke at age 68 and a brother who recently had a heart attack, this news is a little frightening. But I told him I'm going to take care of him to keep him around for a long time!
I don't dare tell him that he could reduce his risk factors substantially by riding bike with me (lets just say he doesn't share the love of biking) - but hopefully next summer we'll get back to riding our hybrid bikes together more often.
PS - If you're interested in a cardiovascular risk assessment, make sure to go to the Avera Heart Hospital. Not that other place in Sioux Falls. Like Forest Gump would say: "That's all I'm going to say about that."