Dr. Ann's Blog

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By marketing@mobilehealthteam.net
May 31, 2019
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Coronary Calcium Score Testing
By Mary Haasl, RN


Most of us have seen an x-ray, which creates pictures of the inside of our body. Bones look white on x-ray (think skeleton), as the calcium in bones absorbs x-rays the most. Calcium is also found in cholesterol plaques in the coronary (heart) arteries. These plaques develop over time, often long before there are any symptoms of heart disease. A coronary calcium score test, done with a specialized x-ray, a CAT scan, creates pictures of the coronary arteries. When the coronary calcium scan pictures are analyzed, the amount of calcium present in each coronary artery is added to obtain a total calcium "score". Calcium score data is helps your doctor determine your overall heart attack risk.  It is also beneficial in determining the appropriate heart disease prevention therapies, including the use of medications, diet and lifestyle changes. A score of zero means no calcium is present and suggests a low likelihood to develop a heart attack in the next five to ten years. When calcium is present, the higher the score, the higher the risk of heart attacks in the future. If you already know that you have coronary artery disease, a coronary calcium score would typically not be of high value. It is most often used as a screening tool when your risk is unclear.

So what happens during a coronary calcium test? The procedure is scheduled at a hospital or outpatient center. You may be asked to avoid caffeine and smoking for a few hours before the test. EKG patches may be applied to your chest, as your heart activity is recorded while the CAT scan is taking the pictures of your heart. The procedure itself should take only 10-15 minutes. There are no special precautions to take after having the scan done. These tests are not typically covered by insurance since they are considered a screening test. They typically are affordable, running between $25 to $50. Some facilities require an order from your health care provider while others will allow you to schedule the testing without an order.    

Your doctor will discuss your results with you. Remember that this data is a tool that provides more information for your doctor in helping you achieve your goal of minimizing your risk of future heart disease!

By contactus@mobilehealthteam.com
May 22, 2019
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Alcohol & Heart Health
By Amy Stack, RN


You've heard the message everywhere: moderate alcohol use is "good for you". Alcohol advertisers show pictures of healthy, happy people drinking wine, beer, or even a Wisconsin staple, the Old Fashioned. But is alcohol really good for you? Is it good for your heart?   

Many of us look forward to a glass of wine with friends, or a beer during the Packers game. Alcohol, however, can have health consequences that are worth better understanding. Today, we can explore the unintended impact on health that comes from alcohol use. With this knowledge, you can make good choices about how and when to consume alcohol.   

According to the National Institute of Health, an estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The first is tobacco, and the second is poor diet and physical inactivity. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, cancer, suicide and accidents.   

So how does alcohol impact heart health?   

Weight: Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, making it more calorie dense than many of the foods we eat. Our brains don't register liquid calories as making us feel "full", so when drinking alcohol, it's easy to get more calories than our bodies need. In addition, alcohol relaxes inhibitions and leads people to make food choices they otherwise might avoid. The result is weight gain, which can put extra pressure on our hearts and blood vessels, increasing the risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.   

Blood Pressure: A single alcohol binge (more than three drinks in one sitting) can raise blood pressure temporarily. Consistent, daily drinking leads to increased risk of chronically high blood pressure, a significant risk factor for heart disease.   

Triglycerides: Alcohol use can increase triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood that store unused calories and can be used as energy. High triglycerides can contribute to hardening or thickening of artery walls, increasing risk for heart disease. Alcohol use-- whether a binge or daily drinking-- can increase triglyceride levels significantly.   

So should we drink alcohol?   

While traditional guidelines advise that moderate alcohol use (one drink a day for women, 2 drinks for men) is considered safe, recent research indicates there is truly NO safe level of alcohol consumption. We're better off choosing non-alcoholic drinks (that aren't loaded with sugar). If you choose to drink alcohol, be sure to limit drinks to no more than one per day for women, or two per day for men. Choose drinks lower in calories and sugar, and avoid sweet mixers. If you have concerns about your alcohol intake, be sure to talk with your doctor. And take advantage of some fun recipes for non-alcoholic drinks whenever possible!

By contactus@mobilehealthteam.com
May 22, 2019
Category: Uncategorized
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New Guidelines for Cholesterol Management
By Angela Bilbrey, RD
 

The American Heart Association (AHA) revealed their new guidelines for cholesterol management in November. Here is what you need to know: 

  • While ideal targets for 'bad' cholesterol (low density lipoprotein or LDL), may vary depending on your risk category, the lower the better.  If you do not have a history of artery disease, with an LDL at or below 100 mg/dl and an optimal triglyceride level is less than 150 mg/dl.  A healthy lifestyle is the first choice to manage cholesterol for all ages.
     
  • For patients with a previous heart incident or other signs of artery disease, LDL cholesterol should be kept at 70 mg/dl or below.  Statin therapy is the primary choice, but secondary therapies such as ezetimibe and the newer PCSK9 inhibitors can be considered if statins fail to help you reach your goals.   
     
  • Healthcare providers are encouraged to utilize a tool provided by the AHA that conducts a detailed risk assessment of their patients for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). If a patient has known ASCVD, the risk calculator is not needed.   
    • The tool combines all major risk factors for ASCVD (smoking, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and diabetes).   
       
    • People aged 40-75 may also be screened for risk-enhancing factors such as family history and other health conditions, which could increase their risk for ASCVD.   
       
    • A risk percentage of 7.5-19.9 can indicate starting or intensifying statin therapy for non-diabetic patients.
       
  • Patients with extremely high LDL (190 mg/dl) or more should start high intensity statin treatment and secondary therapies as needed, and do not need further risk assessment.   
     
  • Patients who have diabetes are considered moderate to high risk for developing heart disease and should start moderate-intensity statins without further risk assessment. 
     
  • Children from high risk families can be screened as early as age 2, and for most children it is recommended they have a cholesterol screening done between the ages of 9-11 with a follow up screening between the ages of 17-21. Lifestyle therapy is utilized for most children, with an exception being those with severe hereditary cholesterol disorders.   
     
  • People over 75 years old also need to be treated for elevated LDL, by utilizing statin and secondary therapies.  Previously this group was not addressed in any AHA guidelines.   
     
  • For everyone, a heart healthy lifestyle is the first step for ASCVD prevention. According to the guidelines, this includes decreasing total saturated fat intake, cholesterol intake, avoiding trans fats in their entirety, and performing 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 3-4 times/week. 

You may not realize that our office is already doing most of what is outlined above. Dr. Ann is committed to ensuring that as a medical practice we are up-to-date on all of the best practices to help our patients live full and happy lives.

 

 

 

By marketing@mobilehealthteam.net
May 07, 2018
Category: Uncategorized
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Step Up to New Goals
By Debbie Woelfel, Registered Dietician, Certified Diabetes Instructor 


I always learn so much from Taylor. In preparation for her talk at the National Lipid Association meeting in San Antonio, she reviewed the latest research on wearable step tracking technology (also known as pedometers, fit bits, etc.). 

It turns out the most accurate ones are the ones that are closest to your hips. However, if you do have a wrist one, keep using it. At the end of the day, the main idea behind pedometers is to get you moving. The key to success is to make sure you use the same one consistently. 

Using a pedometer will give you a good idea of your baseline step number. The next step (pun intended!) is to make a goal to increase the number of steps from your baseline. You might make a goal of an extra 100 or 1000 steps every day until you reach your long-term goal. Research from the Centers for Disease Control recommends 10,000 steps per day. Remember, just wearing the device won't work for health goals. You need to use that information and apply it in a way that will improve your health and help you reach your goal. Goals may include general fitness, weight loss, or health maintenance. 

With the weather warming up, enjoy getting your steps outdoors. Explore our local parks and hiking trails. Wisconsin has some wonderful places to discover! 

Click here to explore Wisconsin
 

By marketing@mobilehealthteam.net
May 07, 2018
Category: Uncategorized
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Live More, MOVE More and Get Healthy for Good!
By Debbie Woelfel, Registered Dietician, Certified Diabetes Instructor 


Every April the American Heart Association celebrates physical activity and encourages all Americans to commit to being more active on a regular basis. In previous years, this was known as National Walking Day. Individuals, communities, schools and workplaces participate by holding events and using our toolkit of educational and promotional materials. You can choose how you want to participate and customize the experience for your community. Companies, schools and individuals can register to get a free toolkit....so let's get moving! 
 
Click here to Join the Movement