New year, improved heart health

With New Year's Day fast approaching, here’s how you can improve the health of your heart in 2019.


Heart disease is to blame for 1 in every 4 deaths in the U.S.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Parag Joshi, Assistant Professor, Cardiology

“The risk is starting at an earlier age. We have children that are having diabetes, and obesity in children that is really becoming an epidemic, so we’re very concerned that the lifetime risk for heart disease is really going up across our population.”

Risk Factors:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Genetics
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

Dr. Parag Joshi: “We know there are some people where that estimated risk doesn’t hold true. What do we do with that risk is it helps us determine if we should start a statin or be more aggressive with preventive measures above and beyond the lifestyle modifications and that’s where a test like a ‘calcium score’ can really help.”

Cardiac Calcium Score:

A non-invasive CT Scan of the chest that measures calcified plaque in the coronary arteries.

Dr. Parag Joshi: “Here at UT Southwestern, we use the calcium score to help us decide how aggressive we need to be.”

“It’s very important as early as you can to know your numbers, to know your blood pressure, know what your cholesterol is. Talk to your physician about your risk in both the 5-10 year range, but also over the course of your lifetime in ways that you can improve that risk.”