A tree farmer in his spare time, Dr. Robert J. Stuppy, spends his days serving patients as a Mercy Cardiologist. His goal simply stated, “I want to help my patients live better lives.” One way to accomplish this is through education. February is national heart month, and although the end of the month is coming near, the truths about heart health can be applied throughout the year.
Question: With heart disease being the number one cause of death for both men and women, what can people do to be proactive with their heart health?
Dr. Stuppy: “Be as fit as you can, exercise regularly and take time every day to relax. Staying fit does more to prolong quality health than anything we physicians can do for them.”
Question: Are there any tests or steps someone can take to determine where they are now with their heart health?
Dr. Stuppy: “Take the Framingham risk score, have a vascular screening done, and possibly a calcium score of the heart.”
Question: How much does family history play in an individual’s heart health risk, and what steps should someone with a family history take to offset those risks?
Dr. Stuppy: “Your biological parents determine more than half the risk. Again, it is so important to make exercise a regular part of your daily routine. Make it a daily appointment on your calendar, you do not skip. Also, start seeing a physician before your 40th birthday.”
Question: What are common symptoms of a heart episode people should be aware of?
Dr. Stuppy: “Symptoms can present themselves with any sensation or none between the belly button to lower jaw, front or back, bilateral or unilateral that is associated with shortness of breath or fatigue.”