The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Cardiologist warns against poor diet, inactivity

By Erin Barnard/reporter

Americans love fast food, physical inactivity, drinking and smoking, but consequences are in order for such a carefree lifestyle, a Grapevine cardiologist told NW Campus students recently.

In Heart Health in the 21st Century, Dr. John A. Osborne said nearly half of the population will die from some form of heart disease, and the culprit could be a double cheeseburger.

“There is no one-sided method to diagnose or prevent heart disease, and people usually do not know that blockage is bad enough until they have had a cardiac event,” he said.

Stress tests have always been the norm for detecting some form of blockage. However, Osborne said the tests identify up to 70 percent of blockages, and that is, in the end, a potentially dangerous stage of plaque.

For instance, take the case of political journalist Tim Russert. Though he received a normal rating after a stress test, he died from a fatal heart attack just a few months later.

“There has never been a machine to test early detection until now,” Osborne said. He was referring to the computed tomography angiography. 

Osborne said the development of the CTA can lead to an early, more accurate detection of a disease that kills up to 50 percent of people.

“With the advent of fast, accurate, safe and relatively inexpensive cardiac CTA, I think we are on the verge of identifying individuals at risk years before they need stents, bypass surgery or have sudden cardiac death as the initial symptoms of coronary artery disease,” he wrote on his Web site.

“Not only can we identify (and treat) plaque years before it causes trouble, the images provided to my patients are dramatically successful in convincing them to make life-style changes, quit smoking and take their medications.”

The CTA is so advanced, it allows for images of the heart to be seen by the naked eye that could previously have been seen only during operation, Osborne said.

“The ‘virtual autopsy’ takes about 10 minutes on the CT scanner table, and the 10-second breath hold yields an incredibly detailed, high-resolution image of any vascular structure in the body,” he said.

Osborne said he has even been able to spot early detection of cancer in the lungs while looking at images of the heart.

The only downfall of the CTA is the commercial availability of the machine, Osborne said. Few health centers have or offer the CTA because it is such a new technology that few professionals are CTA trained, and it often requires on-site job training.

The good news though, is that most insurance companies will cover a CTA test up to about $1,200.

“Today we have the technology that has already begun to dramatically change cardiology,” he said.

“The rate of change and adoption of this technology will only increase in the near future.”


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