Tag Archives: Lexington Medical Heart Center

How A Lifetime of Bad Choices Leads to Heart Disease

We’re wrapping up American Heart Month with a visit with the doctor. Dr. Brandon Drafts of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, talks about how a lifetime of bad choices can lead to heart disease in this WLTX interview you can watch below.

 

While are some risk factors we can’t control such our age or genetics, we CAN control diet, activity level, tobacco use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

You should get about 30 minutes of exercise a day five days a week. Focus on a consistent, long-term exercise regimen with a progression in intensity.

Smomking can increase our risk for heart disease by causing fatty plaque buildup in the heart that can ultimately lead to heart attacks.

Blood pressure is the force blood exerts on the blood vessels. Ultimately, it can weaken the blood vessels or cause the heart to thicken, weakening the function of the heart.

Generally speaking, cholesterol is a good thing because cells need cholseterol to fucntion normally. Cholesterol becomes a problem when there’s an imbalance of it, which can lead to fatty buildup in the arteries.

Stress is a modifiable risk factor that doesn’t get as much attention as it should. It’s hard to objectify or measure stress. Indirectly, it can affect blood pressure or create unhealthy habits of dealing with stress like smoking or drinking alcohol. It can also make plaque buildup in the heart unsteady, which can lead to a heart attack.

Lexington Medical Center wants you to “Just Say Know” to heart disease. Visit LexMed.com/Know to take a heart health quiz and find more information.

Know the Symptoms of A Heart Attack

Radio Host’s Prompt Response Saves His Life

Brent Johnson’s name may be familiar. And you’ve likely heard his voice. The Columbia man co-hosts the morning radio show on B106.7 and calls plays during University of South Carolina football games on the Gamecock Radio Network.

But his best work in 2016 didn’t involve lively repartee on the morning airwaves or thrilling play-by-play Gamecock broadcasts. It was paying attention to his heart.

The award-winning radio personality tends to ignore things like occasional cold symptoms. “I’m a walk-it-off kind of guy,” he said. “But I knew something wasn’t right.”

It was Memorial Day, and Johnson came home after a work day that started at 5:00 a.m. A new kind of pain had his full attention.

“Not only was I having pain and tightness in my chest, I felt like someone was pushing on my chest from behind — the pain was coming through my back,” he said. “I had numbness in my shoulder that didn’t feel right to me.”

Brent told his wife. “She knew something was up when I said ‘I really feel like I have to go to the emergency room.’”

She took him to Lexington Medical Center immediately.

“As a broadcaster, I’m involved with a lot of public awareness campaigns, including heart month. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t go to the hospital, with as many times as I’ve said over the years, ‘If you have heart pain, don’t take any chances.’”

At Lexington Medical Center, Brent immediately went to an exam room for an electrocardiogram to check for problems with electrical activity in the heart. But the report said his heart was normal and healthy.

“I was still in pain,” he said. “They didn’t let me go home.” Further testing, including a cardiac catheterization, revealed a clogged artery.

R. Taylor Williams, MD, FACC

“The staff made me feel confident, not panicked. They consulted with my other doctors on my medications. And when they say ‘You need a heart catheterization,’ they’ll tell you how fast you’ll be in and out. They really know what they’re doing.”

Cardiac catheterization involves threading a long, thin tube through the blood vessels to the heart. It can both diagnose and treat heart problems. Johnson’s procedure indicated he had suffered a heart attack. An artery at the back of the heart was blocked completely, explaining his mysterious back pain. The team used a stent — a tube-shaped device that opens the artery —to allow blood to circulate again.

“Brent had no major risk factors for coronary artery disease, yet he was appropriately concerned enough to go to the Emergency department when he developed symptoms that suggested a heart problem,” said R. Taylor Williams, MD, FACC, of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. Dr. Williams performed the stent procedure. “Brent deserves the credit for the good outcome.”

Brent was back at the microphone within a week. He takes medicine to prevent another blockage, and says he’s doing great.

“I have a family history of heart disease, but my heart has always been healthy. My vitals were fine — no high blood pressure — and I’ve always had a good stress test,” he said. “I didn’t have a reason to suspect heart problems.”

His intuition helped save his life.

To test your knowledge of heart attack symptoms, take a quiz at LexMed.com/Know

The Mediterranean Diet for Your Heart

If you’re looking for the best menu for your heart, check out the Mediterranean Diet. This plan incorporates a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. It features fish and poultry—lean sources of protein—over red meat, which contains more saturated fat.

Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. The diet has been associated with a lower level of bad cholesterol that’s more likely to build up deposits in your arteries.

Lexington Medical Center heart patient Thomas Harris learned all about the Mediterranean Diet while attending cardiac rehabilitation after open heart surgery last year. While Thomas has always led an active lifestyle, his old diet – high in saturated fat and processed foods – hurt his heart. After following the Mediterranean Diet for several months, his cholesterol is lower and he no longer has to take blood pressure medication. We introduce you to him in this WIS-TV news story.

 

“The typical American diet contains too many processed foods that are convenient and easy to eat on the go. They often contain too much sugar and processed flour,” said Lexington Medical Center cardiac rehabilitation dietitian Susan Wilkerson. “The more processed food is, the less nutritious. When we eat processed foods, we don’t get the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. We eat just to eat, not for our health. So we want to go back to eating whole foods.”

Mediterranean Diet Guidelines:
*Primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
*Replace butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
*Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
*Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month
*Eat fish and poultry at least twice a week