Heart Health Starts at a Young Age


Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

It’s Heart Month and while as adults we’re hearing more this month about alert for signs of a heart attack or stroke, Dr. David Chan, pediatric cardiologist at Carle says heart health starts at a young age.

What common heart conditions might children face? We’re not talking heart attacks here right?
• Some children are born with abnormalities
• Special but a small number of kids out there
• Carle is certainly here to treat complex heart conditions, but we’d much rather help prevent cardiac issues whenever possible

So how does Carle address more complex pediatric conditions?
• Added Pediatric specialties
o Cardiology
o Endocrinology
o Neurology
o Surgery
• Increased inpatient pediatric needs and services

I understand you’re about ready to open a new pediatric intensive care unit. Now, I don’t think any of us wants to see any child in there but it’s needed.

Why is this important for the community?
• Pediatric-friendly area instead of with adults
• Includes showers for families
• Progressive care for children and teens in one place
o Step-down
o Medical-surgical
• Easier transitions for children, families
• Cross-train staff in all areas – see same faces throughout the unit
• Keep more children, families close to home for care

When will you start seeing children use it?
• Currently serving kids today but in many areas spread throughout the hospital. This unit consolidates all the services in one area.
• We’re hoping to open the unit this spring with six rooms with an additional six to follow by summer.

We’re really fortunate to have these resources in our community, but we want to also understand how we can avoid needing heart interventions.

So, let’s talk about how we as parents can do that.
• Eat a healthy diet – less salt or sodium
• Opt for lean meats and seafood
• Avoid eating out
• Avoid caffeine and smoking or vaping (even second-hand smoke)
• The heart’s a muscle so give it a workout

Why is it so important to establish these habits early in life?
• Heart health is lifelong family affair
• Model good behaviors
• It’s a community effort to address these health problems early on
• Pediatricians at Carle and Christie Clinic are working together to tackle this important issue
• Prevention is our unified message
• Poor heart health lead to other serious chronic conditions later in life
o High blood pressures
o Diabetes
o Obesity
o Heart disease

Finally, where can people learn about heart health for the entire family?

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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