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How to be 'heart smart' in the fight against heart disease

Despite all the headlines you hear these days, the number one killer in Arkansas is still heart disease.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Heart month has begun and it's a good reminder because despite all the headlines you hear these days, the number one killer in Arkansas is still heart disease.

But it doesn't have to be that way.          

What an armory is for a soldier, a heart clinic is for a cardiologist. Just like for CHI St. Vincent Cardiologist Dr. Charles Clogston.

It's here at the clinic where the heart disease battle can be won.

“Trying to catch people early before they have, you know, major problems,” Dr. Clogston said.

And what makes the effort so successful: tests that make you heart smart.

An ultrasound reflects the velocity of blood flow.

“On this test, this is called ‘ankle brachial indices’ and we are checking to see if there is any evidence of blockage of the arteries to the legs,” Dr. Clogston said. “Big model of heart showing calcium.”

Blockage: It is the primary suspect. When there's a cholesterol buildup, the body has an answer.

“The body's response to that cholesterol plaque in the blood vessel wall is to deposit calcium,” Dr. Clogston said. “So, the more calcium that's built up in the arteries, the greater your chances are that you've got a significant blockage somewhere.”

It’s why you need to know your coronary calcium score. Like golf, the lower the score the better.

“And to get your coronary calcium score, you don't go to a golf course,” Dr. Clogston said. “You go to the CT scanner which does have a hole in one. What we're doing with the CT scan is looking for that calcium.”

And we just scratch the surface of the tests and screenings that can make you heart smart.

“Males age 40 or older and females 45 or older,” Dr. Clogston said.

You can potentially slow down the progression of coronary artery disease and maybe even halt it, and in some rare circumstances, see some reversal of coronary artery disease.

One visit. Several tests all for one heart. Yours

‘CHI St. Vincent Heart Clinic' off Kanis Road in Little Rock has a special offer happening every Friday during heart month. During heart month, get 'Heart Smart' for just $25. 

Call and schedule your day of getting HeartSmart at 501-819-8029 on Friday, Feb. 11, Feb.18, or Feb. 25.

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