One of my favorite movies growing up was the 1996 Bill Paxton/Helen Hunt classic Twister. If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out. Great flick! The plot surrounds a group of quirky scientists who are passionate about all things tornado. While each possesses his or her own unique skill set, the collective goal is to create a model that will predict when and where a tornado is likely to strike, thereby giving people the time they need to seek shelter and avoid disaster. There are many action-packed near misses as they attempt to deploy a flock of data-gathering sensors directly into the path of a roaring tornado. Fantastic special effects and hilarity ensue.
Why in the world would a cardiologist (heart doctor) be blogging about a tornado movie in February? I believe in the film industry they call this part foreshadowing…and honestly, I was also inspired by the current state of my desktop. If you could see it, you would understand.
The Calm Before the Storm
While my desk always looks like it was hit by a tornado, patients don’t. As our group of weather-chasing scientists can attest, even when the skies appear calm, danger can be just around the corner.
Many patients are walking around leading perfectly normal lives moments before a heart attack strikes. The more warning we have that a storm might be brewing, the more time we have to prepare. In the case of heart health, we can even use that time to alter the natural course of a disease process. The danger really exists when we don’t see it coming.
If anyone has ideas on how to change the natural course of a tornado, let me know. I feel like that could make a pretty entertaining sequel. Just as long as it doesn’t involve sharks (Sharknado…NOT a favorite classic of mine).
Heart Attack Prediction & Prevention
Spoiler alert! After a few modifications, a few more close calls and some heartwarming romance (pun intended), our heroes are able to launch their gizmo directly into the funnel of a tornado and harvest a wealth of information about what makes a tornado tick. Subsequently, prediction models are generated, saving the lives of countless potential future victims of tornadoes simply by warning them the conditions are ripe for danger.
In much less dramatic fashion, we at Bryan Heart possess a similar prediction tool. The key is first assessing risk and then matching that risk with the appropriate screening. Once a proper screening is performed, those results can then be used to create a plan to modify the natural course of disease. In this case, disease that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. As a cardiologist, the only thing better than saving a patient who’s actively having a heart attack is preventing one from happening in the first place.
Bryan HeartAware is a free, confidential screening tool that gives you a prediction on your heart health. It takes less than ten minutes to complete online and just might save your life or the life of a loved one. In the spirit of heart awareness month, I would encourage you to take the HeartAware screening test and discuss the results with your doctor or a Bryan Heart doctor.
Celebrate Heart Month with Dinner & A Movie
Bryan Health has partnered with Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill and FireWorks Restaurant to offer special prices on two delicious, heart-healthy dishes for those who complete the HeartAware screening test in February. Both pair well with a classic man versus nature film, if any particular movies come to mind!
Treat yourself and a loved one in the name of heart health and prevention!
Learn more about HeartAware and how you can get a deal on a heart-healthy meal.
Mathue Baker, MD, is a cardiologist with Bryan Heart. He specializes in heart care, including prevention measures to avoid heart problems, as well as treating heart disease to help patients return to their active lives.