Ready for a Healthy You?

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Informed, Pro-active, Ready

Start here. That’s what the experts recommend, whether you’re thinking of joining a fitness club, going on a diet or undergoing cosmetic surgery. Seek medical advice first–from your primary-care doctor or dentist—before starting a new regimen to find out your readiness. Here’s why: Undetected physical conditions and even known poor health can turn a much-desired makeover disastrous and pose serious risks to your long-term health.






Think you’re safe? Check out these sobering Hawaii health statistics:

People ages 55 to 64 have the highest rates of high blood cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes – all three leading causes of heart disease and other potentially fatal health problems.

Women, you’re not immune! All three ailments are evenly divided between men and women over age 20, with men having a slight edge (51 percent to 49 percent) for high cholesterol.

Japanese lead the state with the highest rates of cholesterol (30 percent), hypertension (28 percent) and diabetes (26 percent). Caucasians rank second in cholesterol (26 percent) and hypertension (24 percent).

Native Hawaiians rank second in diabetes (23 percent), but have the highest mortality rate from the disease.  Source: Hawaii Health Survey (HHS) 2007

With heart disease the #1 killer in Hawaii, we sought the expertise of cardiologists Dr. Sonny Wong and Dr. Maria Markarian of the Windward Heart Center LLC, which provides consultation services, along with a full range of diagnostic services.


What is the leading cause of heart disease and who’s at risk?

Dr. Wong: It’s coronary artery disease, where the arteries that supply blood to your heart harden and narrow, limiting blood to your heart muscle. Risk factors include age, gender, heredity, diabetes and lifestyle, such as smoking, diet, lack of physical activity and stress. Know your numbers for cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose. Prevention is key.

Photo: istock

TIP:    Baby Boomers with 30-year-old silver fillings should be mindful of teeth fractures as they age. Silver can expand over the years and even a bite of bread can cause a silver-filled tooth to break off. A dentist can spot hairline fractures and other telltale signs. —Dr. Cecile Sebastian, DDS


What the experts say?

Oral health is a window into the overall health of a patient. Gum disease, in particular, not only indicates unhealthy teeth, but may indicate systemic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers.—Dr. Robert Baysa, Dental Arts LLC

Aren’t women safer from heart disease?

Dr. Markarian: Heart disease afflicts women far more than all types of cancer combined. One in three women will get heart disease. One in 30 will get breast cancer. Women can manifest heart problems differently from men – stomach pain, feeling tired for no reason, nonspecific discomfort.

What are the latest treatments?

Dr. Markarian: Improved statin drug therapies to lower blood cholesterol, new blood thinners, and within two years, bioabsorbable stents to open the arteries. Within five years, certain heart problems will use less invasive procedures, instead of open heart surgery. Don’t wait. Between the onset of a heart attack or stroke and treatment, more heart muscle damage or loss of brain function happens. We have the technology today to keep people with heart disease alive longer.


TIP: “If your eyes have become irritated, red and dry, Madame Pele might be the cause of Allergic Conjunctivitis because of the vog in the atmosphere. Check with an ophthalmologist, who’s qualified to diagnose and treat diseases of the eye.” —Dr. William Wong, Jr., Ophthalmologist, Hawaii Vision Clinic


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