Concerns for Heart Health Start With the Young
Recent studies referenced by the American Heart Association indicate that developing heart-healthy habits during adolescence could have significant benefits later in life. Obese children and adolescents are at greater risk for a host of health problems, particularly heart disease. In order to address these issues, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center offers a cardiology risk reduction program at its Center for Pediatric Specialty Care for children with high cholesterol, obesity, hypertension and a family history of early-onset adult cardiac disease.
“Physicians should start screening children for these conditions earlier, since it is easier to address issues when parents are in control of their child’s diet. Also, it is important that parents encourage children to get out more and be more active,” said Joel Harnick, MD, pediatric cardiologist at Good Samaritan’s Center for Pediatric Specialty Care.
The research shows a correlation between high blood pressure and high cholesterol in children as young as nine and the onset of heart disease later on. The center is seeing an increase in childhood obesity, which leads to high cholesterol and insulin resistance (Type 2). Due to a lack of exercise and poor diet (not enough fruits and vegetables), children are being put at higher risk for heart disease. Heredity can also have a strong influence.
“With so many children with special needs, it is most important to ensure that pediatric subspecialists are available to care for them in a timely manner and support each child’s needs as well as those of the family,” stated Catherine Caronia, MD, Good Samaritan Hospital’s medical director of pediatric critical care services.
Good Samaritan’s Center for Pediatric Specialty Care has the largest number of pediatric subspecialists in Suffolk County. These pediatricians are trained in cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, infectious disease, endocrinology, gastroenterology, cystic fibrosis, sleep disorders and fetal echocardiography. Since opening in 1997, the center’s primary goal has been to provide quality health care for children so they can continue to lead normal lives, requiring fewer hospital admissions and emergency department visits. The medical center’s Division of Pediatric Cardiology recently received full/three-year recertification from the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL) for both pediatric and fetal echocardiography. Good Samaritan was the first health care provider on Long Island to receive certification by ICAEL and is the first to successfully earn recertification.
For more information on cardiac services or Good Samaritan’s Center for Pediatric Specialty Care, please call (631) 376-4444.