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Now, more than ever, take care of your heart health

Arkansas residents lead the nation in heart-related deaths—HMH cardiac nuclear medicine can help

2020 is not for the faint of heart: how the pandemic can impact your heart health

With the understandable concerns and fears about COVID-19, taking care of your heart health is as important as ever. And for some, concerns of the pandemic could increase the risk for heart problems—especially if you’re already at risk—and lead to very serious problems if unattended. 

There are a lot of factors at play with stress and heart health these days:

  • Anxiety about a job loss
  • Concern for loved ones
  • Fear of contracting COVID-19
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Isolation and feeling disconnected
  • Homeschooling and remote learning
  • Quarantining and a more sedentary lifestyle
  • Overindulging in food and drink because of stress or being stuck at home

All of these reasons factor into your heart health. That’s why it’s so important to keep annual physicals—even now—so providers can stay on top on any issues that may be causes for concern or further testing.

Arkansas residents lead the nation with heart attack deaths and heart disease deaths

Even before the novel coronavirus, Arkansas was at the top of a list that no state wants to be on; heart disease is the leading cause of death in the state. So with the added stress of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to watch your health, keep your appointments and if necessary, take advantage of the cardiac nuclear medicine tests from Howard Memorial Hospital that monitor your heart health—and may even save your life.

Take action before it’s too late: ask your primary care provider about HMH cardiac nuclear medicine

Cardiac nuclear medicine is an important tool to help gauge your heart’s health, so you have the information you need to make modifications, get healthy and live a more active, healthier life. Cardiac nuclear testing includes stress testing and cardiac imaging, so doctors have a clearer picture of exact issues that are causing or could lead to serious problems. These procedures involve critical diagnostic tools, not simple screenings, to actually look inside the arteries and valves that deliver blood to your heart.

As easy as one, two, three! Your primary care physician orders the test—a cardiologist has the results before your appointment—you can start care plans start right away!

The good news is, these tests, if necessary, will be ordered directly by your primary care physician, so you’ll have the results with you if you need to see a cardiologist. These detailed images of your arterial and heart activity allow the cardiologist to quickly understand any issues and move you into appropriate treatment plans sooner—so you can start the journey to your better heart health right away.

Nuclear medicine upgrade

At HMH we're proud to feature a number of improvements to our cardiac nuclear medicine, including a dual head gamma camera, and same day echocardiograms for a smoother, more convenient patient experience.

Take your health to heart:

  • Don't ignore your heart! Unfortunately, residents of our great state grew up on comfort foods—or may overindulge in alcohol and tobacco—that compromise our heart health.
  • Approximately 40% of Arkansans die from a heart attack before they ever make it to the hospital, which means they have no chance to get better, learn how to make better choices or incorporate lifestyle changes that may have saved them. These factors, combined with the recent stresses of the world-wide health crisis, make our residents even more vulnerable.
  • Keep your regular appointments with your doctor, and any specialists you are seeing. Talk to your primary care physician about concerns you have.
  • Don't let the name intimidate you. Nuclear cardiac tests are safe, efficient and very helpful. And if your doctor orders them, they are necessary.
  • HMH has the facilities and testing—here where it’s close and convenient—to give providers a clear picture of your heart. Take advantage of this valuable resource; it could save your life—or the life of someone you love.

The real heart of the matter: take care of yourself

As always, take care of your health—but be especially mindful of your health during this difficult time. Make efforts to reduce your stress by taking time for healthy lifestyle decisions. There are resources online, or books, to learn techniques to deal with added stress. Ask your provider for ways to better handle the ever-changing stressors of life during this time—at work, as a parent, or just as a someone dealing with factors you’ve never had to navigate before. Keep moving. Take walks or choose an activity that you find enjoyable. And make modifications in your diet to improve your heart health. Small steps lead to bigger lifestyle changes when it comes to healthy eating, and there have never been more recipes—many even mimic our favorites that have been reinvented with a healthier twist. Ask your provider about the HMH services available to help you learn how to make better dietary choices and incorporate healthier recipes. All of this will help your heart during the pandemic—and beyond.

With all of our heart, HMH is here for you

Of course, in the event of an issue or concern, our expert staff is here to help you throughout your journey, from diagnosis through rehab. Start by making an appointment with your primary care provider to discuss any concerns you have about your heart health. He or she may recommend a cardiac nuclear medicine diagnostic so you’re able to get the help you need. And if you’re experiencing heart issues, working with a cardiologist, or considering surgery or other procedures, learn more about the resources and support from HMH at https://www.howardmemorial.com/our-services/cardiac-rehabilitation.

Posted in:  Cardiology, Health