Father's Day Gift Idea: SHAPE Recommends Giving Dad the Gift of Life Wrapped Up in a Heart-Shape Tie

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Father's Day, on Sunday, June 16, is an excellent opportunity to help dad avoid a devastating heart attack or stroke. SHAPE recommends arranging for a simple, inexpensive cardiovascular scan by calling your doctor or a SHAPE Certified Physician in your area at: http://www.shapesociety.org/locator/store_locator.php.

Since last Father's Day, almost 500,000 American men have died due to a sudden heart attack or stroke, leaving behind emotionally and economically devastated families, promising careers and missed opportunities.

Until their sudden deaths, these men appeared to be in good health and enjoying active lifestyles, often with a clean bill of health from their doctors. How could this have happened; what had the doctor missed?

Heart attacks and stroke are the number one and number three causes of death in the country. Despite this, screening for the underlying cause, atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in arteries) often goes undone. Doctors don't recommend these noninvasive tests and patients don't know enough to ask.

The tragedy of a loved one dying suddenly is made all the worse by knowing that something simple could have been done to prevent it.

So, this year, give the fathers in your life the gift of life and the peace of mind of knowing whether or not they are at risk of having a sudden heart attack or stroke. Having their arteries scanned using either noninvasive computed tomography (CT scan for coronary calcium) or ultrasound (carotid artery scan for plaque buildup) is both simple and inexpensive.

"One of the most meaningful Father's Day gifts of all would be a cardiovascular screening test," said Dr. Morteza Naghavi, founder of SHAPE and Chairman of the SHAPE Task Force. "This is an excellent way to show Dad that you love him and want him to enjoy a long and healthy life."

"Today's image-based screening tests could possibly have saved my late husband's life," said JoAnne Zawitoski, a prominent Baltimore attorney and SHAPE's board chair. "My husband suffered a massive heart attack and died instantly, just days after a routine visit with his primary care physician. He was only 49. On behalf of our family, especially our two sons, please protect your loved ones by periodically checking their arteries for atherosclerosis."

SHAPE is also calling on hospitals, clinics and physicians to offer special discounted rates on Father's Day for CT and ultrasound screening.

SHAPE also recommends giving dad one of its handsome Heart-Shape ties as a caring reminder to incorporate heart-healthy practices such as eliminating smoking, controlling weight and exercising regularly into his daily routine. To order, go to: http://shapesociety.org/valentie.

The Society for Heart Attack Prevention & Eradication (SHAPE) is a nonprofit organization created to promote public awareness, professional education and research related to early detection, prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis (arterial plaque), the most prevalent underlying cause of heart attacks and stroke. SHAPE is committed to educating doctors and their patients about the devastating consequences of not screening for the accumulation of arterial plaque. Identifying and treating coronary risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are simply not enough. Additional information is available at: http://www.shapesociety.org. To get involved with SHAPE and become a volunteer, please email us at: info(at)shapesociety9dot)org or call 713-529-4484.

The SHAPE Task Force, an international group of leading cardiovascular physicians and researchers, has created the SHAPE Guidelines, which educates physicians how to identify asymptomatic atherosclerosis (hidden plaques) and implement proper therapies to prevent a future heart attack or stroke. According to the SHAPE Guidelines, individuals with high risk atherosclerosis (high plaque score) should be treated even if their cholesterol level is within the so called “normal range”. Knowing one's plaque score is of critical importance. In fact, it can be a matter of life and death! Additional information is available by calling 1-877-SHAPE11. Additional information is available at http://www.shapesociety.org.

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