Thousands of South Floridians in their 30s, 40s and 50s do not know they are at risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Luckily, new quick, simple and affordable evaluations now being offered by a Kendall physician can predict individuals’ risks for a heart attack, stroke or diabetes early enough to give them time to make lifestyle changes or apply medical therapies that could help them live healthier longer.
Cardiologist and managing partner of HeartWell cardiology centers Dr. Jonathan Fialkow is on a crusade to educate people at an early age about how to prevent heart disease and related ailments like diabetes. He sees an opportunity to reach individuals who are often too busy to see a doctor and probably have never considered themselves at risk.
Dr. Fialkow, who is one of only 29 Florida lipidologists — or physicians with specialized training in cholesterol management, cardiovascular risk assessment and intervention – recently launched two versions of Prevention Checkup, a comprehensive predictor of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
“I’ve seen the results in my own patients when I use these tests on them,” said Dr. Fialkow. “Showing people a vision of their future heart health empowers and motivates them to take preventative action steps now to reduce their risk and hopefully prevent heart attacks or strokes years down the line.”
The Prevention Checkup program is available in two simple options. For only $125 and 30 minutes, patients receive a total body composition analysis with the state-of-the-art GE InBody230 equipment, which computes exact percentages of body water, dry lean mass, skeletal muscle mass and fat. The exact body mass index (BMI) and percentage of body fat (PBF) are then plotted on an easy-to-read chart and interpreted by an experienced physician assistant, who has specialized training in cardiac and diabetic risk assessment and prevention. Blood pressure is measured and surveys regarding sleeppatterns are given. In addition, with a simple finger prick, a complete lipid profile is created, which includes an in-depth analysis of cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A lipid profile is essential to evaluate several of the components of the metabolic syndrome, which is a predictor of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. The checkup also includes an evaluation of abdominal weight distribution and fasting glucose levels.
For a small additional charge, patients also may opt for a carotid ultrasound with the Panasonic CardioHealth® Station, the latest technology that uses a non-invasive ultrasound system to measure to the millimeter the thickness of vital vessels. As a result, any possible plaque formation is identified earlier than previously possible. This evaluation can be a valuable predictor of further vascular problems.
Option two is available for $350 and includes the carotid ultrasound as well as a private consultation with Dr. Fialkow, who reviews all factors that could signal cardiovascular health in the future and recommends healthier lifestyle choices based on each individual’s assessment results. This option requires an additional 30-minute time commitment.
According to Dr. Fialkow, the Prevention Checkup could be particularly valuable to people who have such risk factors as a family history of cardiovascular and related diseases such as diabetes, tend to carry extra weight in the belly area, experience sleep disturbances such as snoring, and have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Other signs that should motivate individuals to seek such an assessment include a lack of results from frequent dieting, increased fatigue and elevated blood sugar levels.
The Prevention Checkup is available at the Cardiovascular Center of South Florida, LLC located at 7400 SW 87th Avenue, Suite 100 Miami, FL 33173. For more information or to make an appointment, call (305) 275-8200, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
In private practice at the Cardiovascular Center of South Florida, Dr. Fialkow is a founding member of HeartWell LLP group practice of cardiologists and a member of the Baptist Cardiac and Vascular Institute at Baptist Hospital, where he is medical director of clinical cardiology. He also is medical director of the Stress Lab, Electrocardiography and Cardiac Rehabilitation Services and co-medical director of the Chest Pain Center at Baptist Hospital of Miami.