toddler and grandmother crafting out a heart on paper

You may consider yourself healthy and active, and even though you don’t show any symptoms today, you could still be at great risk for a heart attack.

For preventive cardiologists, like me, I’m trying to find those patients – the ones who don’t have any symptoms yet, who are at great risk for a heart attack, maybe next week, maybe next month, and identify those people, and try to reduce that risk. That’s preventive cardiology.

In preventive cardiology, I work together with my patients to identify and treat heart disease before it worsens.

There are five primary risk factors for heart disease, which include three “hypers”:

  1. Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  2. Hyperglycemia (diabetes)
  3. Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels)
  4. Smoking – This is a HUGE risk factor as smoking inflames the heart arteries.
  5. Family History – in most cases, this is the most important.

Learn more about controlling these risk factors.

In addition to taking medication for the three “hypers,” it’s important to make permanent lifestyle changes – that has an impact on four of the five risk factors.

  • Anyone smoking should attempt to quit. (Need help? Learn more about our Tobacco Treatment Clinic.)
  • Eat a diet that is plant-based and low in saturated fats. Follow the dietary guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association.
  • Get moderate cardiovascular exercise for 40 minutes, four times a week, as recommended by the American Heart Association.

As for family history – it’s a huge risk factor and one I especially try to focus on. Even if you don’t have any of the other risk factors, get screened early to determine if you have any plaque buildup that could lead to major problems down the road.

To schedule a screening, call UofL Physicians – Cardiovascular Medicine:

  • Downtown Louisville – UofL Physicians Outpatient Center (401 E. Chestnut St.) – 502-588-4600
  • New Albany, Ind. – Professional Arts Building (1919 State St., Suite 444) – 502-588-7010
  • Northeast Louisville – Jewish Hospital Medical Center Northeast (2401 Terra Crossing Blvd., Suite 407) – 502-588-7010
  • St. Matthews – Springs Medical Center (6420 Dutchmans Pkwy., Suite 375) – 502-588-7010

Dr. Sadlo sees patients in New Albany, Northeast Louisville and St. Matthews. Over the past three years he has personally screened more than 600 patients who didn’t have any chest pain or other symptoms of heart disease, and found that 10 percent of them had a blockage and needed a coronary stent or heart surgery. These screenings are diagnosing heart disease early so it can be treated before a patient ends up in a much worse situation in the emergency room.

See Dr. Sadlo’s full interview on KET’s episode of Kentucky Health with Dr. Wayne Tuckson.

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Article by: Henry B. Sadlo

Henry B. Sadlo, M.D., is an assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and practices with UofL Physicians – Cardiovascular Medicine. For the first 24 years of his career he focused mainly on treating patients with heart disease who come in through a hospital emergency room. Now, instead of patching up what’s already broken, Dr. Sadlo has shifted his mission to preventing the disease and doing screenings to catch it early.

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