Heartland doctor explains what you can do to keep your heart healthy

What you can do to keep your heart healthy

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - St. Louis Blues Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac episode during a hockey game Tuesday night.

You might wonder what you can do to detect early heart problems.

Saint Francis Healthcare Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Duc Nguyen said when athletes or fit, young individuals collapse, it’s usually due to abnormal conduction disease or congenital heart disease.

“A conduction disease problem, which is a problem with the electrical conduction system in the heart,” Nguyen said. “Usually, particularly with young people, that is detected on an EKG. The other thing that is common is, sometimes you have a congenital heart disease called hypertrophy cardiomyopathy where there is what we call irregular asymmetrical thickening of the left ventricle. That can prone a sudden cardiac death as well.”

Dr. Nguyen said if you play sports, there are measures in place to help check your heart before you play.

"If you're young, a sports physical will a lot of time reveal these things," Nguyen said. "That's why they do sports physicals. It's important to do that and get a good clearance before you do strenuous cardiac activity."

He said if you have any concerns, to ask your primary physician to check out your heart.

"We can screen the patients, work them up in the patients that we think are high risk or potential high risk," Nguyen said. "So that cannot always detect all the problems but it does a pretty good job in detecting the majority of the problems."

To help your heart and your overall health, Nguyen suggested to eat a good clean diet and avoid processed foods, exercise and knowing your risk factors, which include cholesterol levels, blood pressure, BMI, weight, etc.

For more information on any heart related questions, contact your local physician.

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