Shirley Huerter

What You Need to Know about the New Cholesterol Guidelines


Cardiology

In late 2013, after an extensive review of evidence, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute updated cholesterol guidelines. Why did they do this? These new guidelines better identify those at risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), and also better diagnose people who already have ASCVD. Patients who have ASCVD are more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. To determine if someone is at risk of developing ASCVD a risk estimator is available through Cardio Source. Information including Systolic Blood Pressure, a patient’s race, HDL Cholesterol and more are entered. Depending on the level of risk, patients should take different courses of action. For all patients who are determined to be at risk for ASCVD there are behavioral … Continue reading

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Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

Farewell


Cardiology

They say all good things must come to an end. Such wisdom probably counts for mediocre things, too. This represents my final submission to the Alegent Cardiology Blog and I’d like to occupy some electrons on your computer screen to thank all the people who’ve helped me with my writing along the way. My gratitude goes out to Alegent Health for allowing me to have a voice for my opinions.  It’s not everywhere you’d find a large organization that provides blanket permission for an individual to spout off week after week.  I thank, in particular, Josh Di Lorenzo, Matthew McCahill and Jen Homan for their vigilant assistance in keeping up the blog for these past three and a half years. … Continue reading

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Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

Doctors Behaving Badly


Cardiology

As odd as this might sound, my mother was upset when I declared my intention to go to medical school. It wasn’t the mountain of debt I was sure to incur since I’d already figured out how to get Uncle Sam to pick up the bill (a small deal that put me in a military uniform for a decade).  It wasn’t the fact that medical school would delay the litter of bouncing grandbabies she wanted to fawn over.  And it certainly wasn’t because she’d miss me—she’d already seen too much of me and my dirty laundry on weekends during college. No, my mother was legitimately disappointed in me for choosing to enter the medical profession simply because she had a … Continue reading

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Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

Running Races


Cardiology

This summer marks the 25th straight year that I’ve been running on a regular basis.  Over the last quarter of a century I’ve done so many five- and 10-kilometer races that I’ve lost count.  I’ve competed in 10-milers, half-marathons, 3-k and 25-k runs and every “k” in between, and enough marathons that my knees are starting to hold a grudge. Not that I win any of these, mind you.  I’ve always been a fairly mediocre runner—generally placing in the top third of any race but never talented enough to post a time that would turn anyone’s head.  While I haven’t obtained blistering speed from my 25 years of running, I have gained wisdom. One thing I love about doing road … Continue reading

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Eric Van De Graaff, M.D.

Smoking in the Military


Cardiology

The military has a long tradition of mixing warfare and tobacco.  Years ago the army included a pack of smokes in every C-ration distributed to the troops; as a result it was more common for soldiers to take up smoking than to remain abstinent.  The tobacco industry insured itself a whole generation of addicted consumers by volunteering their product to help the war effort.  Years later, of course, we’ve inherited this tradition in the form of lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease among our veterans. When I was a young doctor in the air force one of my jobs was to oversee the base’s Put Prevention Into Practice Program, an anemic effort to bring down the cost of military medical … Continue reading

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