EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a transcription from an interview with Melissa Walton Shirley, MD, a consulting cardiologist with the St. Thomas Heart Group in Nashville, Tenn., by ICD10monitor publisher Chuck Buck.

If I could have one present that I can give the men in my life for Father’s Day, it would be little kit containing a copy of the legacy trial, a pair of sneakers, an automatic blood pressure cuff, a gift certificate to the local coronary calcium scanner, and a Hemoccult card. 

The legacy trial demonstrated a 90 percent cure rate for Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, paroxysmal afib, and hypertension when patients achieve a body mass index of less than 27 with the Mediterranean diet. Sneakers might encourage 30 minutes of walking five days per week, which can drop drop heart attack risk by 50 percent. The BP cuff utilization just might prevent a stroke, a common cause of death in men. 

Coronary calcium scoring takes 10 minutes to do; no IV, no dye. Your score is your calcium buildup, that correlates with risk for heart attack. The Hemoccult card can detect colon cancer. 

Most of all, we need to provide encouragement to men to get a well patient visit. Prevention is important, but so is detection of disease.

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