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Prevention of Heart Disease Starts in Childhood
You may think of heart disease as a problem for adults, not your young children. But diet and exercise habits started in childhood can begin a lifetime of heart health . . . or a lifetime of heart damage.
Some of the preventable causes of adult heart disease that begin in childhood are:
Although it’s true that heart disease risk can run in families, a healthy diet can help every child reduce heart disease risk. If heart disease does run in your child’s family, talk with your child’s health care provider about whether to have your child’s cholesterol and blood pressure measured regularly, in addition to watching weight.
Healthy food, healthy hearts
A balanced diet is essential for children and adolescents, not just to prevent heart disease, but also to encourage healthy growth and development. A diet that prevents heart disease contains two important parts. The first is keeping daily calories at the right level. Eating too many calories can cause weight gain, which is hard on the heart. The second is limiting fat. The USDA recommends that children limit the amount of fats—especially saturated fats—that they eat. Saturated fat is solid at room temperature.
Here are guidelines for creating a heart-healthy childhood diet:
Breastfeed infants as long as possible. Aim for a full year, even as you introduce solid foods.
Feed your child mostly fruits and vegetables, with whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy.
Watch portion sizes. The recommended daily amounts of healthy foods for children are:
2 ounces of lean protein (fish, chicken) every day for children between 2 and 3 years old, 3–4 ounces for children 4–8 years old, and 5–6 ounces for children 9 to 18 years old
2 cups of low-fat dairy for children under 8, and 3 cups for children 9–18
1.5 cups of fruit
2.5 cups of vegetables
6 ounces of whole grains
Avoid eating fast food too often. If you do eat out, make healthy choices (a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a bacon cheeseburger, for example) and keep portion sizes reasonable.
Avoid sugary drinks. Instead, serve water and low-fat milk.
Limit juice to less than 6 ounces per day and make sure it’s 100 percent fruit juice.
Total fat should be no more than 30 to 35 percent of total daily calories for children 2 to 3 years old and 25 to 35 percent of calories for those up to 18 years old. Choose healthier fats: the mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
Choose whole grains, such as brown rice, over refined grains, such as white rice, for added nutrients and fiber.
Don’t require children to finish everything on their plate. Allow children to tell you when they feel full and are done.
Healthy lifestyle, healthy heart
Many daily choices that children and adolescents make affect their heart disease risk. Here are some choices you can encourage your children and teens to make that will help protect their hearts:
Get about 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week in childhood. This can be broken up throughout the day into two or more periods of activity.
Since many kids trade being active for sitting in front of the television or a computer, keep screen time to less than two hours per day.
Don’t smoke. Ban smoking in your house and avoid places where people smoke cigarettes.
Remember that you are the most important role model for your kids. Your children and teens will learn their best heart healthy choices by watching you.
Interventional radiology is an area of medicine that is growing rapidly as an alternative to many conventional surgeries. Interventional radiologists are physicians who specialize in minimally invasive, targeted treatments performed using imaging guidance. Broward Health Imperial Point’s Interventional Radiologist, Dr. Linda Hughes, uses her expertise in reading X-rays, ultrasound and other medical images to guide small instruments such as catheters (tubes that measure just a few millimeters in diameter) through the blood vessels or other pathways to treat disease percutaneously (through the skin). Click here to read more about Dr. Linda Hughes and the various procedures she performs.
What are the advantages of interventional radiology?
- Interventional radiology procedures often replace open surgical procedures.
- Most procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis or require only a short hospital stay.
- The procedures performed are typically much less invasive than traditional surgery.
- Risk, pain and recovery time are often significantly reduced.
- The procedures are sometimes less expensive than surgery or other alternatives.
- General anesthesia usually is not required.
Angiography / Interventional Radiology
An angiogram is performed to get a much closer look at arteries or veins than is possible from other means. A long thin tube, or catheter, is guided through the artery to the area to be studied by using a contrast dye and x-rays. Broward Health Imperial Point offers a comprehensive array of interventional procedures including arteriograms, stents, stent grafts, vertebroplasty, uterine fibroid embolization, central lines, drainages, biopsies and angioplasty.
Interventional Neuroradiology is an exciting, minimally invasive approach in the treatment of vascular diseases of the central nervous system. Conditions that, in the past, would have required surgery such as aneurysms, vascular malformations, and tumors of the brain, head and neck can be considered for treatment by using an endovascular approach. Interventional techniques such as thrombolysis are also useful in the management of patients with acute ischemic stroke.
To schedule an appointment, call the Interventional Radiology department at 954-776-8824.