The Eborn family has a history of heart disease. Both Eric (51) and his mother have high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease, and the Eric’s older brother suffered from high blood pressure before succumbing to a heart attack a few years ago.
When Eric’s wife, a credentialing specialist at Portneuf Medical Center, told him about the Portneuf Heart & Vascular Institute’s special price on the cardiac calcium risk screening program: a comprehensive self-pay screening that includes three tests that are designed to help diagnose heart disease, Eric knew he and members of his family should take advantage of the screenings.
“I took the tests a few months ago,” Eric said. “I called, told them I was interested and they made my appointments for all three tests. It was super easy!”
The three screenings are:
Calcium Score Scan: Also known as a heart scan; this specialized x-ray creates pictures of your heart to measure calcium-containing plaque in your arteries. As plaque increases, it may restrict the blood flow to your heart.
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): Using electrodes placed on your chest to detect your heart’s electrical signals, an electrocardiogram records these signals to check for different heart conditions. The signals are shown as waves on an attached computer or printer.
Lipid Panel: This blood test measures the amounts of lipids in your body. Lipids are fats and fatty substances that are used as energy sources by your body. Large amounts of lipids, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) can clog your arteries and lead to heart disease.
“I already had a follow-up appointment scheduled to go over the results of the tests, but when the numbers for the calcium score came back significantly high, they bumped me up to an earlier appointment,” said Eric.
Following a complete evaluation and review of his screening results, Eric has been prescribed a statin, which is helping to lower Eric’s cholesterol levels. He was also encouraged to follow a heart-healthy diet that includes lean meat and vegetables.
“I’ve never had a terrible diet, like eating hamburgers and pizza every day,” said Eric. “But my brother was heavier than I am, and with his passing, my health has come more into the forefront of my mind. My wife and I really pay attention to what we're eating and what's in it, like what's the fat content? What's the protein content? How many carbohydrates? So, with healthy eating and exercising more, I’ve lost 12 to 17 pounds over the last couple of months. Things are looking better.”
Eric and his wife get a lot of their exercise by hiking the outdoor trails near their home.
“I love to be outside surrounded by mountains. There are trails only 15-20 minutes from our house. That’s nice! But with winter moving in, we are looking at getting a treadmill to get daily exercise even when there is ice and snow on the ground,” said Eric.
Eric strongly encourages individuals who have a history of heart disease in their family or if they have the concern to schedule a screening. It is quick and easy and, for peace of mind, it is invaluable. “Any knowledge you can get about your health, in my opinion, is good,” said Eric.
For more information about the services offered by Portneuf’s Heart & Vascular Institute, in addition to the calcium scoring screening, visit our web page or call (208) 239-3899.