In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our September 2011 issue, we gave a reader's question about preventing heart disease to James Beckerman, MD, WebMD's heart health expert.
Q : Heart disease runs in my family. What can I really do now to help prevent it?
A : Cut out these five things to greatly reduce your risk:
Smoking (or hanging around with smokers). Smoking is the most dangerous -- yet most reversible...
If you have a cardiac device, such as a pacemaker or ICD:
Ask your doctor what you should do if you receive a shock from your
ICD while traveling.
Bring your cardiac device identification cards with you. These cards are usually given to
people after they first have the device put in. They contain information about
the specific type of device that you have, when it was put in, and your
doctor's name and phone number.
At airport security:
You can safely walk through airport security
or anti-theft gates at a normal pace. But do not stand near or lean against
them. Before you pass through a metal detector, tell the security guards that
you have a pacemaker or ICD, and show them your device identification card.
Your pacemaker or ICD may set off a metal detector, but the security archways
will not damage the device.
If you must be searched, ask the
security guard for a hand search. The handheld security wand contains a strong
magnet and should not be used. But if the handheld wand must be used, it should
not be held over your pacemaker or ICD for a long period of time. The security
guard should keep the wand at least
12 in. (30.5 cm) away from your
pacemaker or ICD.
If your device sets off a security alarm, show
your device ID card.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
June 2, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 02, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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