Is Forty the New Seventy? CCTA Scans for Chest Pain

The face of a PPI Hospital
Photo by Ptolemy Mann via Pininterest
 One of my close family members underwent  CCTA tests yesterday.  I know this because, in case he was unable to drive after the procedure, I was nominated to accompany him on a fifty-mile round trip to the hospital.

It's not a pleasant procedure. A catheter is inserted into a vein in the arm, a fine tube is threaded through to the heart, a dye injected through the tube,and the patient is rolled into a CT scanner so the the heart valves etc. can be viewed on a screen.

If you were able to see him, you might wonder why, at the age of forty-one, this man would need to have the test. He is not overweight, eats healthy balanced meals most of the time, and tells me that his work involves being on his feet all day. He looks fit. In fact, he looks around ten years younger than his age. But he has been experiencing intermittent chest pain for some time. It's particularly worrying because his father suffered three hard attacks before dying at a relatively young age. My opinion is that this is a wake-up call. Once a person hits his/her fortieth decade it really is time to be taking a proactive approach to continuing good health. I'm sorry to say that, whilst the boy is ostensibly fit and healthy, he has been taking things for granted. 

My view is that he the root cause of his problem is sleep-deprivation and stress, both of which can only contribute to declining health.  We are constantly told by health care professionals about the importance of around eight hours sleep each night, but the man-child consistently watches television until the early hours of the morning, despite needing to be up and about very early. Lack of sleep leads to a craving for carbohydrates. So, despite an adequate intake of healthy food, he snacks on high fat, high salt and high sugar treats every day, unconsciously mistaking tiredness for hunger. And he does not get any suitable exercise, despite his claims to the contrary. Being on one's feet doesn't necessarily provide the cardio-vascular workout that we all need. A brisk twenty minute walk each evening would nail it - weight loss and sounder sleep. What's not to like?

 I hope that test results will reveal nothing serious is amiss and that my relative will outlive me by several decades. And in case you are wondering - it's not a case of do as I say, not as I do. I'm happy to report that my Fitbit report indicates that I have excellent cardio vascular health for a woman of my age. Which must, in part, be due to maintaining the garden and marching my Nordic Walking Poles around a park a few times each week .