It’s not every day you’re told you have the heart of a 47-year-old, but that’s exactly what happened when I tried out a bold new Cardiohealth Clinic here in Derry.
I am 37 now, after all, and I suppose there are worse things than having a heart a decade older than I am. Still, the cardio results enlightened me to the risks involved in living a mildly hedonistic lifestyle. But let’s go back to the start and the fact that I was invited to try out the new monthly Cardiohealth Clinic at Gordon’s Chemist on the Strand Road, off Waterloo Place.
The clinic takes around an hour and costs £50, which is affordable compared to its closest alternative, an angiogram costing almost £6,000. David McCollum, Medical Director of Cardiohealth NI, is the man behind this innovative new cardio-check through Gordon’s province-wide.
“We use an arteriograph, and there are actually only three of these machines in all of Ireland,” Mr McCollum explains.
“The arteriograph measures a phenomena called the pulse-wave, which is the pressure wave that leaves the heart every time the heart squeezes. This pressure wave travels the length of the arteries and into your fingers and toes before reflecting back towards the heart again. So when your arteries start to clog up, they start clogging up in your fingers and toes first.
“So if your arteries are healthy, you’ll get a small pressure wave back and if they’re beginning to get clogged up, you’ll get a big pressure wave back.
“So basically we can see the degree of clogging of the arteries before it becomes more serious,” he adds.
I won’t bore you with all the in-depth figures, but basically the arteriograph showed that I had a Pulse Wave Rate of 8.3m/s, which would be the average for someone aged around 47 years-old. While that isn’t exactly impressive, it could be worse. Especially as I had just given up cigarettes.
After the test, Mr McCollum assured me that any clogging is reversible and gave me loads of great diet and exercise tips to get my heart back to tip-top shape. Some were quite surprising, like choosing butter over margarine, avoiding white bread (each slice contains 3-4 teaspoons of sugar!) and choosing 85% or more dark chocolate because it’s packed full of antioxidants.
But I am glad I went, at least now I know my heart needs some attention too. The next Cardiohealth clinic comes to Gordon’s Chemist on the Strand Road next Wednesday, September 18. Contact Gordon’s on: 71 264502 to book your appointment.