The Gold Standard Diet for Heart Health

Posted By admin
Categoirzed Under: Diet, Healthy Habits
Comments (0)

How the Pesco-Mediterranean Diet & Intermittent Fasting Helps your Cardiovascular System

There is a saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is often the case, especially when it comes to your heart.

Here at Zepick Cardiology in Wichita, we treat patients dealing with a variety of cardiovascular issues. And in addition to providing the necessary treatment to improve our patients’ heart health, we arm them with the information to make the important lifestyle changes to help prevent future problems.

What you eat makes a major difference to your heart. Simply eating smarter goes a long way. But even better is to eat in a way that specifically improve your heart health. When it comes to improving your heart health, landmark clinical trials have shown that the Pesco-Mediterranean specific diet change will make the most impact.

Who should consider the Pesco-Mediterranean Diet?

  • Someone with current cardiovascular issues
  • Someone with a family history of heart problems
  • Anyone looking for a healthier way to eat

In addition to this diet, you can improve your heart health by making a change to the schedule of when you eat. Combining this way of eating along with intermittent fasting creates an ideal scenario for your heart.

Food on a table eating for heart health: Pesco Mediterranean Diet, Zepick Cardiology Wichita, KS

What is the Pesco-Mediterranean Diet?

Simply put, it is the Mediterranean Diet without red meat or poultry. If you are not familiar with the Mediterranean Diet, keep reading to learn about each of the components. The main ingredients are vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains and extra-virgin olive oil. It also includes fish, seafood, eggs and fermented dairy products.

The “pesco” prefix is for pescatarian. In regards to individual diet choices, a pescatarian is a person whose diet does not include any meat except for fish and seafood.

Beyond the Heart: Other Health Benefits

Mediterranean appetizer concept. Arabic traditional cuisine. Middle Eastern meze with pita, olives, hummus, stuffed dolma, falafel balls, pickles, babaganush, vegetables, pomegranate, eggplants. List of health benefits of this diet to decrease issues with Diabetes, depression, Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer and colorectal cancers

This Pesco-Mediterranean diet does more than help your cardiovascular health. Research shows a diet rich in plants, nuts and lean means also helps your health in many other ways, including lowering your risks for:

  • Diabetes
  • Cognitive decline
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Depression
  • Cancer mortality
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancers

A panel of experts analyzes the top diets every year. In 2020, for the third year in a row, the Mediterranean diet was ranked #1 for benefitting overall health. The experts deem it nutritious, safe, helpful for preventing cardiovascular issues as well as other conditions like diabetes.

It also was found to be effective for losing weight. What is perhaps the most important factor for people who have struggled with dieting for weight loss, nutritionists rank the Mediterranean diet high for being something people can easily follow.

Reasons to Eliminate Red Meat & Poultry

It is a fact that humans are omnivores. Our anatomy shows how our bodies were designed to eat plants and meat. Our bodies can handle the type of fiber available in plants as herbivores can. And just like carnivores, we have certain types of enzymes in our gut that exist to digest that protein.

While our history shows we ate meat, the type of meat our ancestors primarily ate is very revealing. Before we began widespread farming and depending on crops for food, one-sixth to one-half of our diet consisted of animals. This meat consisted of wild birds, fish, eggs, and game meats.  

Many Americans today enjoy a diet that subsists of a similar ratio of animal protein, but that is where the similarity ends. Past humans who were consuming fish, wild birds and game were benefitting from options that are low in saturated fats. The kinds of meat we eat today are much higher in saturated fat.

Why Not Choose a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet?

If the common meat eaten today is high in saturated fat, you may think giving up meat altogether is a good option. You wouldn’t be wrong. Vegetarian diets can be beneficial. You can follow these diets in a way that is healthy and provides the nutrients you need. However, sometimes strict veganism can lead to nutritional deficiencies and cause people to be at risk for osteopenia, sarcopenia and anemia. It can lead to deficiencies in vitamin B12, proteins, iron, zinc, vitamin D and calcium.

It is a misconception that a vegetarian diet is always a healthier one. Simply removing a problematic food group is only part of the equation. Having a meat-free diet that consists primarily of sweets, fries, chips and other processed foods can hurt your cardiovascular health.

Healthy vegetarian diets are ones that emphasize nuts, fresh produce, and whole grains. A balance of healthy foods is what is important. While this is definitely possible with a meat-free diet, it can prove to be more challenging.

Let’s Talk Fish

It’s the focus on fish and seafood that helps put the Pesco-Mediterranean Diet as a top ranked diet to help your heart. Epidemiological studies show the great benefits of fish.

salmon is a good meal in the pesco mediterranean diet

Increasing how much fish you eat can reduce your risk of heart failure.  Consuming more fish can also decrease the conditions that put you at risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Compared to a typical meat-eater diet, other diets have been proven to greatly lower your risk for death from coronary artery disease:

  • Pescatarian – 34% decreased risk
  • Vegetarian – 34% decreased risk
  • Vegan – 26% decreased risk
  • Reduced meat consumption – 20% decreased risk

Note: While a variety of fish dishes can improve your diet, fried fish is not one of them.

Fish and seafood are a great high-quality protein. Fish are good sources of zinc, iodine, selenium, B vitamins, calcium and magnesium. Eating fish is helpful for building and maintaining strong muscles and bones.  

Concerned about Mercury in Fish?

Mercury levels in fish have caused some to be concerned about possible dangers to eating fish over the past decades. Nearly all fish and seafood contain some levels of mercury, but studies show the amount is not a problem for most people.

Fish that have low mercury levels include salmon, sardines, trout, herring, and anchovies. Seafood with low mercury levels include scallops, shrimp, lobster, oysters, and clams.

Let’s Talk Drinks

red wine is acceptable in the mediterranean diet

Drinks to focus on in the Pesco-Mediterranean Diet Drinks include water, coffee and tea. Water is the preferred beverage.

While red wine is often associated (rightly) with the Mediterranean cuisine, only modest alcohol consumption is recommended for this diet. A single glass of red wine with dinner would be in line with keeping to the Mediterranean Diet.

Let’s Talk Nuts

nuts are a great snack option in the Mediterranean diet

Nuts are a great way to change how you snack. In a study conducted on older persons, the Mediterranean Diet that includes nuts was compared with a less specific low-fat diet and was found to create a more significant decreased risk for cardiovascular issues.

Nuts are packed with nutrients including unsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. In one trial, adding one daily serving of mixed nuts decreased the risk of dying from cardiovascular reasons by 28%.

Let’s Talk Oil – is Extra-Virgin Important?

extra virgin olive oil is the best source of fat in the Mediterranean diet, a great substitute for butter

Yes. You will see any reference to oil in any Mediterranean Diet will specifically state to use extra-virgin olive oil. This is commonly abbreviated to EVOO. This clarification is because extra-virgin olive oil is unrefined. This type of is extracted by cold pressing olives.

Let’s Talk Legumes

What is a legume? It is essentially a fruit or seed of a plant. Some examples are beans, peas, and lentils. They are usually low in fat, have no cholesterol. On the plus side they are high in folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium. They are an excellent source of vegetable protein.

Eating more legumes has been linked with a reduction of risk for cardiovascular disease. Not only that, they can improve blood glucose levels, cholesterol, blood pressure and help with maintaining a healthier body weight.

Let’s Talk Dairy

soft cheese, a great dairy choice in the Mediterranean diet

While dairy is a part of any Mediterranean Diet, it will likely require a shift in what you’re used to. Not only does this diet include a smaller amount of dairy than that in a typical healthy American diet, the types of recommended dairy are different.

Good dairy options in the Mediterranean Diet include fermented low-fat options. Yogurt and soft cheeses are good.

Avoid butter and hard cheeses, as they are high in saturated fat.

Comparing Healthy Diets: American vs Mediterranean

Can you just eat a smart diet without following the specific Pesco-Mediterranean Diet? Yes, a smart diet of any kind will help your health. But when it comes to your heart, research shows a regular American healthy diet is not as beneficial as the Pesco-Mediterranean Diet.

What makes the Pesco-Mediterranean Diet better? Eating for improved health is about more than simply cutting calories. According to 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, health experts recommend the Mediterranean Diet as one of the best ways to change your eating for the better.

Fasting: Time-Restricted Eating

In combination with a Pesco-Mediterranean Diet, you can make great improvements to your heart health by also incorporating intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting has gained popularity over recent years. There can be some confusion and misunderstanding to what this exactly entails. There are actually a few different ways you can choose to intermittent fast to reap its health rewards.

Let us dispel a common myth. Fasting doesn’t always mean you go a full day (or days) without eating. We are discussing a specific eating plan known as intermittent fasting or time-restricted fasting. Intermittent fasting means going without food or drinks (that contain calories) for a duration of 12-16 hours every day of the week.

While you’re fasting, your body burns fatty acids for fuel instead of glucose. This intermittent fasting has been shown to improve glucose metabolism and may reduce cancer and cardiovascular disease risks.

coffee cup with clock - How to schedule your meals for intermittent fasting

How to Schedule your Meals for Intermittent Fasting

Identify the 6-12 hours you want to eat your meals in. A 16-hour fasting is a common choice for those who do intermittent fasting. A schedule that fits this would be finishing your dinner at 7pm and then not eating again until 11am the next day.

During this time when you refrain from eating, you can still drink beverages that do not contain any calories. Good choices would be water, teas, or black coffee.

Eating for Heart Health: Basic Next Steps

The Peco-Mediterranean Diet with Intermittent Fasting incorporates the best diet choices for improving heart health as proven by a variety of scientific studies. Opting for high-protein foods low in saturated fats while also cutting out red meat and poultry and not eating throughout the entire day is the most proven heart-healthy way to eat.

How can you get started? Here are four basic steps to start implementing right now that will put you on the right track.

  • Step 1: Replace red meat and poultry with fish and seafood.
  • Step 2: Cook with olive oil instead of butter.
  • Step 3: Snack on nuts and seeds & choose fruits instead of processed sweets.
  • Step 4: Go without eating for at least 12 hours every day.

Zepick Cardiology: Wichita’s Clinic for Heart Health

cardiology patient getting heart rate checked with stethoscope

Your heart is our number one priority at Zepick Cardiology. We are a team of Wichita cardiologists and trained medical technicians experienced in helping people dealing with a variety of cardiovascular issues. We work one-on-one with our patients to find the solutions to help them live better and longer lives. Give us a call at (316) 616-2020 to learn more about our services or for answers to your cardiovascular questions.

You can learn more about the science and research showing the heart benefits of combining the Pesco-Mediterranean Diet with intermittent fasting in a recent article from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Heart Disease: The #1 Cause of Death for Women

Posted By admin
Categoirzed Under: Risk Factors for Heart Disease, Women's Health
Comments (0)

Understanding Cardiovascular Disease Risks for Women

1 in 3 women die from cardiovascular disease

It’s a sobering statistic. One in three women die from some form of cardiovascular disease.

Nearly half of women over 20 suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease infographic

It is the leading cause of death for women. In addition, it is also a rather common disease for women to be living with. Nearly half of all women over the age of 20 have some form of cardiovascular disease.

But how cardiovascular disease impacts women is different in many ways.  This has become a focus for a lot of new research. The factors that cause a person to be at risk for cardiovascular diseases aren’t always the same for men and women. And sometimes when the factors are the same for both sexes, the risk factors are worse for women.

Science is uncovering new information that is helpful in both the prevention and treatment of heart disease for women.

A New Focus on Women’s Heart Health

Over the past few years, new studies have begun focusing specifically on cardiovascular problems for women. A large summary of recommendations for prevention of cardiovascular disease in women was put out just this year by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.  

All this research is great news to women, especially those facing a higher risk for developing heart issues. Instead of a one-size-fits-all treatment, these new efforts to understand how cardiovascular disease is different for women have led to improved guidelines customized for the most optimum and successful treatment specific to the needs of women.

Cardiovascular Risk Factors Unique to Women

Why do women get heart disease? Obesity, poor access to health care, and underlying health conditions are all risk factors that affect both men and women. But studies have found there are specific risk factors that put women particularly at a higher risk for cardiovascular problems.

Various health issues that impact a woman's risk for cardiovascular disease infographic provided by Zepick Cardiology in Wichita, KS. Depression, pregnancy and diabetes among the list


A woman is considered to have premature menopause when she experiences menopause before the age of 40. The body’s response to a drop in estrogen (including such things as changes to the distribution of body fat, glucose tolerance and higher blood pressure) causes in increased risk for cardiovascular disease. The recent research on this has been extensive, involving more than 300,000 women in testing. Early menopause (ages 40 – 44) and relatively early menopause (ages 45 – 49) were also studied and found to increase cardiovascular disease risk, although not as high.

However, there is still much we do not know about the link between early menopause and cardiovascular issues. It may be that there are other factors at play here. It could be that women who have certain factors that increase their chances for having both cardiovascular disease and early menopause.


Women of reproductive age can develop the hormonal disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Women who suffer with PCOS may have infrequent menstrual periods or prolonged ones. The problems are often more severe if the woman is obese. Having polycystic ovary syndrome puts you at a higher risk of developing both heart disease as well as type 2 diabetes.


While hypertension is a problem that can occur in both men and women, there are differences among the genders. Hypertension is less common in pre-menopausal women than of men of similar age. However, after menopause, women are more likely to suffer from hypertension then men of their age group.

Studies show there are various factors unique to women who have it. It is common for women with hypertension to:

  • Be obese
  • Decrease physical activity
  • Increase salt intake
  • Develop diabetes
  • Increase alcohol consumption (more than moderate use)

These activities or factors are also some of the biggest risks that cause women to develop heart disease. Women in this situation are recommended to reduce their salt intake (ideally less than 1500 mg daily) and to increase their daily amount of potassium from foods (ideally to at least 3500 mg daily).


Having diabetes increases a person’s risk for heart disease, making them twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack. Like hypertension, diabetes affects both men and women. But there are differences between the sexes in this disease and how it affects each gender’s risk for cardiovascular disease.

Girls are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than boys. Because of this, women tend to live longer with this disease than men. Studies show that people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes before the age of 40 are at higher risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease.

While recent studies bring to life information that some may find troubling, it also creates the opportunity to find treatment that is most affective. Studies on gender differences regarding diabetes has resulted in revelations about certain medications working better for men with other medications working better for women.


The first noticeable difference between men and women who have high cholesterol is in regard to medications. Women are less likely to be given statin therapy than men for their high cholesterol. Statin therapy has been shown to reduce occurrence of cardiovascular disease. However, a lack of proper studies in the past involving women cast doubt on whether statins were a safe and effective treatment for women.


Atrial fibrillation is a condition where you have a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Women with atrial fibrillation are 20% to 30% greater at risk of having a stroke than men with this disease.


Having depression, emotional stress, or other form of psychological issue has been shown to increase your risk for developing cardiovascular problems. These issues been proven to be risk factors for heart attack and cardiac death. It’s been shown that women diagnosed with clinical depression face twice the risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

Depression affects about 7% of the popular each year, and it’s twice as more common for women than

men. Psychological issues are often tied to childhood instances of adversity such as child abuse or neglect. Women have a higher exposure to these adversities. Such early life adversities are known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but even more of a predictor for women.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has been found to increase a person’s risk for heart disease. This is true of either gender but is worth noting as an increased risk factor for women since they experience this problem more than men. PTSD affects 9.7% of women and 3.6% of men.

The problem relating PTSD to cardiovascular disease is increase when you consider lifestyle factors. Those who have suffered childhood trauma are more likely to take part in unhealthy activities and choices. Whether it’s smoking, over-eating or excessively drinking, people with PTSD are often exacerbating their heart risk with such poor health behaviors.


Pregnancy factors that affect your risk for heart disease

There are many issues related to pregnancy and childbirth that put women at a much greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease. From gestational diabetes to low birth weight to pre-eclampsia, the many different types of health problems a woman can face during pregnancy leads to a high risk.

In fact, the various factors related to pregnancy are so many that we put that information out in its own article to go in depth into this article on Pregnancy & Cardiovascular Risks.

What can women do to protect your heart?

For women, this may feel like only a lot of bad news. But in reality, the new information that focuses on women’s health will help lead the way to improved treatment and care and preventative help.

  1. Understand that heart disease is indeed a serious risk for all women.
  2. Be proactive in getting medical care and seeking necessary treatment.
  3. Stop poor health behaviors such as smoking, too much drinking and salt intake.
  4. Start/increase good health activities such as incorporating physical activity in your daily lifestyle.
  5. Take your mental health needs seriously.

Knowledge is power. Knowing how you are uniquely affected by heart disease or the factors that put you at greater risk creates great opportunity for you to take proper steps to help your heart health.

Heart Disease Problem in Kansas

heart disease statistics for Kansas compared to the united states stats for men and women infographic

Do we have a bigger problem with cardiovascular disease here in Kansas than they do in other states? Not really. Kansas ranks right about in the middle among most statistics on heart disease.

As you see in this graph from America’s Health Rankings, 3.6% of all Kansas females and 5.3% of all Kansas males have diagnosed heart disease. This is just a little more than the national average.

If you have any questions or concerns about your heart health or proper treatment and care, feel free to call us at Zepick Cardiology here in Wichita, KS at (316) 616-2020.

Pregnancy & Increased Heart Disease Risk

Posted By admin
Categoirzed Under: Risk Factors for Heart Disease, Women's Health
Comments (0)

Women’s Health: Unique Risks for Developing Cardiovascular Disease

Infographic with pregnant woman and the pregnancy factors that increase women risk for cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. It is an important health concern that women should be aware of. While heart disease does affects both men and women, there are many different factors that can put a woman at an increased risk.

Pregnant woman holding her belly

Among the risk factors that are unique to women is pregnancy. A variety of complications and health issues have been found to make a woman’s chances of facing heart issues double, triple or even worse. Here at Zepick Cardiology, we treat people of all demographics dealing with their own unique issues relating to their heart health.

New medical studies over the past few years have placed a focus on health matters that specifically affect women. There are many issues that put women at increased risk for heart disease from menopause to hypertension. A variety of complications and health issues surrounding pregnancy and birth have been found to make a woman’s chances of facing heart issues double, triple or even more.

Pregnancy: Increased Cardiovascular Disease Risks


About 10% to 20% of all pregnancies have what is referred to as adverse pregnancy outcomes. This includes such situations as preterm birth, stillbirth, and low birth weight. These adverse outcomes have been found to be associated with an increased risk for those women to develop cardiovascular disease in their future. If you had one of these pregnancies, you are more likely to develop heart disease.


Pre eclampsia statistics about how this illness increase women's risk for heart disease problems

Preeclampsia is a relatively rare hypertension disorder. It happens typically after 20 weeks into pregnancy and causes the woman to have dangerously high blood pressure. It can lead to serious, even fatal, problems such as seizures. Usually the condition goes away with, or shortly after, childbirth.

The most serious risks usually end when the condition ends with childbirth. But research shows that women who have experienced preeclampsia during pregnancy also face an increased risk of developing heart disease. Studies show that after 10-15 years after having preeclampsia, these women are face the following increase risks:

  • 3.7 times greater risk for hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • 2.2 times greater risk for ischemic heart disease (heart not receiving enough blood)
  • 1.8 times greater risk for stroke
  • 1.5 times greater risk for overall mortality

There are other hypertension disorders a woman can experience during pregnancy. Women who are diagnosed with any hypertensive disorder of pregnancy are at an increased risk for chronic hypertension, even as soon as within the first year after pregnancy. They also have double the risk of being hospitalized for a cardiovascular issue within 3 years of delivery.

Having a hypertension disorder during a pregnancy also increases the risk for coronary disease and for having heart failure and valvular heart disease.


Women who develop diabetes during their pregnancy find themselves at risk for further conditions. Not only are they at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, they also face increased risks for heart disease. Women who have gestational diabetes have:

  • double the risk of developing hypertension
  • double the risk for having a stroke
  • nearly three times more likely for having ischemic heart disease.


Giving birth several weeks early increase a woman’s risk for heart issues. Giving birth to a child before 37 weeks into the pregnancy doubles the mother’s risk for cardiovascular disease. It also doubles the risk for dying from coronary heart disease. When the birth happens prior to 34 weeks along, that risk is even high.


Women who have had a miscarriage or a stillbirth face greater cardiovascular disease risk. They have double the risk for having a heart attack (technically called myocardial infarction), a stroke (cerebral infarction), or renovascular hypertension.

Having had a miscarriage also puts you at 1.5 times increased risk of developing some form of cardiovascular disease. Multiple miscarriages increase that risk to 2 times.

A picture with image of pregnant mom containing table explaining how a miscarriage can increase a woman's risk for heart disease

Why it’s Important to Know Your Risks

If you faced one or more of these situations during a pregnancy, it can be disheartening to find out that it has put you at greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease. But there is some good news. With new research and knowledge into what puts women uniquely at risk for heart disease, doctors and cardiologists can be more able to react to the care you need. For example, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology now recommends that women who have an adverse pregnancy outcome undergo a cardiovascular risk screening withing 3 months after that pregnancy.

Getting correctly diagnosed with heart disease can mean the important treatment you need can begin sooner. In addition, when a physician identifies that a patient is at greater risk for developing cardiovascular issues, they can provide the proper recommendations to help protect the patient’s heart health. Increasing certain activities and making lifestyle changes can go far in helping a person avoid or delay developing dangerous conditions.

For some time in our medical history, women were being underdiagnosed with cardiovascular disease and/or not getting the sufficient treatment or care for it. Knowing how women are uniquely affected by heart disease or the factors that put them at greater risk creates great opportunity to help women better deal with or even prevent suffering with cardiovascular disease.

Questions About Your Heart Treatment?

When you get care at Zepick Cardiology in Wichita, we take the time to talk through your health and your risk factors. Whether you are a man or a woman, we will make sure to address your specific situation and as well as go over the best treatment and care for you.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your heart health, feel free to call us at Zepick Cardiology at (316) 616-2020.

How to Prepare for a Cardiac Stress Test

Posted By admin
Categoirzed Under: New Patient Help
Comments (0)

What to Know Before Taking the Treadmill Test 

Person on a treadmill taking a stress test with words "Don't stress out about the Stress Test: 4 steps to prepare" from Zepick Cardiology in Wichita

Coronary artery disease is the number one killer of men and women. It affects more than 16 million Americans. This disease is when there is some blockage of the arteries around your heart that restricts the blood flow in your body. If left untreated, a person can suffer serious problems including a heart attack. Fortunately, there are non-invasive tests that a person can take to help diagnose if they are suffering from coronary artery disease. 

Poster of a heart in Wichita clinic showing ventricles

The Stress Test

One of the most common medical tests you can take for determining potential heart issues like coronary artery disease is a stress test. This is the test some people may think of as the Treadmill Test or the Exercise Stress Test. While this is a standard and very safe test, some people have developed concerns and anxiety about the test. 

Here at Zepick Cardiology, we perform this test all the time at our Wichita clinic. This is truly a vital test to help someone receive treatment as early as possible before serious heart issues occur. We want to provide you valuable information to help you better understand this test, help you be prepared for it, and to feel less stress about taking it.

Bottom Line: Don’t stress out about the stress test.

When is a Stress Test Needed?

Most often, if you are undergoing a stress test inside our Wichita clinic, it’s because you were referred to Zepick Cardiology by your primary care doctor. This is a very sensitive test using specific cardiac equipment that tests for blockages in the coronary arteries. 

Why might you need a stress test? You may have been referred to a cardiology clinic for a stress test because you’ve exhibited some of the signs of coronary heart disease. Some symptoms of a potential heart problem include chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, and dizziness, among others. 

Discuss with your doctor any problems or pains you are feeling in your chest area. Undergoing a stress test may be what is needed to catch any developing problems before they become severe.

Preparing for your Heart Stress Test

4 Steps to prepare for the cardiac stress test info-graphic - including do not eat, avoid caffeine and wear comfortable clothing

You will be given instruction in advance to make sure you are prepared for the stress test. The first thing to know is that there is very little preparation you need to worry about. It requires a lot of the same basic steps you would undergo for a variety of different medical tests.

The 4 Prep Steps for a Stress Test

  1. DO NOT EAT: For the day of your test, you cannot have anything to eat or drink. However, you can drink water.
  2. DO NOT HAVE CAFFEINE: You will have to skip your daily coffee or tea that day and the night before. Do not ingest anything with caffeine for the 24 hours leading up to your stress test appointment.
  3. DO NOT TAKE BLOOD PRESSURE MEDS: On the day of your appointment, do not take any medications for blood pressure, like beta blockers, before the stress test. 
  4. DO WEAR COMFORTABLE CLOTHES & SHOES: You will be walking or jogging on a treadmill, so be sure you are wearing the necessary clothing to be able to handle that level of activity. Be sure to wear running shoes or another footwear appropriate for a walk or jog.

What Happens During a Stress Test?

When you come to Zepick Cardiology for a cardiac stress test, you will be taken to an exam room and prepped for the test on the treadmill. This preparation includes attaching several small devices called electrodes to your chest. These are sticky patches that adhere to the skin that is connected to an electrocardiogram (EKG). There is nothing painful nor dangerous about electrodes. They simply work to provide our cardiology team images showing how well your heart and arteries are performing. 

Treadmill inside Zepick Cardiology where you would get a stress test done to check for coronary heart disease

Before you even get on the treadmill, we will look at the readings we are getting from the electrodes to see the resting state of your heart and cardiac system. Then you will get on the treadmill and start walking (or jogging) for about 10 to 15 minutes. You will start out slowly and then the treadmill speed will increase gradually.

Throughout the time you are on the treadmill, one of our Zepick Cardiology’s staff will be right in the room with you. The staff will be monitoring the live EKG during the entire time you are walking. 

How fast will you have to go on the treadmill?

For most patients, a brisk walk will be all that’s needed. However, if you are under 25 years old, you can expect to be jogging on the treadmill. 

For the treadmill test to provide necessary results, you are going to be exerting yourself enough to reach your targeted heart rate. Your targeted heart rate is typically 50% – 85% of your safe maximum heart rate. For the stress test, you will need to reach 85%. 

Each person has their own targeted heart rate. It is determined by your age, and there is a simple formula to determine it. 

How to Determine your Target Heart Rate for a Stress Test

  1. Subtract your age from 220. 
  2. Multiple that number by 0.85

Using this formula, you will see that a person who is 60 years old will need to reach a heart rate of 136 on the treadmill.

Pairing the stress test with advanced diagnostic imaging
To improve the accuracy of information we get from the stress test, we usually pair the resting EKG with heart muscle blood perfusion imaging or ultrasound images. 

The stress test itself is no different than taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood. The only real difference is that here you are walking while surrounded by heart experts inside a cardiology clinic. If your heart is in fact at such a great risk for cardiac problems, there is no better place to uncover it than right inside a cardiology clinic surrounded by our team. Your safety and health are our highest priorities.

What Happens After the Treadmill?

After the walking or jogging  is done and we have gotten all the necessary images of your cardiac system, you will be unhooked. The test is over. Our cardiologists will go over the various images we took during your appointment.

Treadmill Room 2 sign outside where you do the treadmill test for your heart at Zepick Cardiology in Wichita, KS

Urgent and extremely abnormal results are available to be interpreted by the doctor immediately following the stress test. But in most cases, the patient will schedule

a routine follow up appointment to go over the results with the doctor and come up with a plan of treatment going forward. It will only take a few days for you to get your results. These appointments are usually scheduled a week or two after the stress test. 

Of course, one reasonable stressor about a stress test is dreading the results. Yes, it’s true that the test may uncover you have serious heart issues. But if left ignored, you could be facing serious illness or death. 

Getting a cardiac stress test and finding out you have an issue like coronary artery disease means you now have hope and a path towards a healthier life. You will be given the medical care and information you need to get healthier and to live a longer life. This knowledge, while scary, may save your life. 

What if I’m Unable to do the Treadmill Test?

Some people are in a condition that will not allow them to walk on the treadmill. Whether they are not able to do this exercise, or it would be unsafe for them to do so, there is an alternative option. We have a medicine for those people to take to provide us with necessary results without use of a treadmill.  

Questions About Your Heart Treatment?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding procedures or preparations for heart stress tests, feel free to call us at Zepick Cardiology at (316) 616-2020.

Zepick Cardiology COVID-19 Safety Measures

Posted By admin
Categoirzed Under: New Patient Help
Comments (0)

Protecting Wichita Heart Patients during the Coronavirus Pandemic

May, 2020

Zepick Cardiology is a trusted Wichita medical clinic committed to helping patients live better and longer. With the threat of coronavirus, we want to make sure our patients know that their health and safety remain our number one focus. We remain open and available to treat all current and new patients with enhanced protocols to ensure safety throughout your visit.

During the shutdown in Sedgwick County and across Kansas in early spring, Zepick Cardiology always remained open. As a medical facility, we are an essential business. Simply put, you can trust us to be here when you need us.

Ensuring Safety Inside our Wichita Clinic

Front view of Zepick Cardiology, located on Hillside just south of Kellogg in Wichita, KS
Zepick Cardiology clinic – 630 S. Hillside Wichita, KS

The threat of the coronavirus has created sweeping changes for people and companies across the globe. Here in Wichita, our cardiology clinic has also adapted. Keeping the health and safety of our heart patients our highest priority, Zepick Cardiology quickly took necessary steps to ensure our patients and our staff would be protected in every way possible from the COVID-19 virus.

It has already been our routine to implement a variety of hygienic protocols. From protective gear to gloves and masks, our medical staff are always well equipped to maintain safe contact with our patients. But with the additional threat of COVID-19, other non-medical staff at Zepick Cardiology are also now wearing additional protective gear.

Additional Clinic Safety: From Masks to Disinfectant

As we mentioned, some safety procedures were already in place here at Zepick Cardiology. Some procedures have simply been increased. And even some new safety measures have been implemented.

Some steps we are taking to reduce your risk of catching the coronavirus include:

  • All Zepick Cardiology staff wear masks
  • All patients wear masks
  • Rooms are disinfected before each new patient
  • Doorknobs are wiped down after each patient
Telemedicine appointments available from Zepick Cardiology for heart patients in Wichita, KS Call (316) 616-2020

New Telemedicine Appointments for our Heart Patients

Zepick Cardiology now provides a new way for many of our heart patients to receive the care and information they need without leaving their home. Telehealth is a process for getting important care to patients at a distance. At Zepick Cardiology, sometimes a medical visit can be handled via a phone call.

If the appointment does not require a physical examination, patients may be able call in for a one-on-one office consult with one of our trained doctors or medical staff.  Patients will receive the same attention and care in a telemedicine appointment with one of our cardiologists as they would in person.

Call us at (316) 616-2020 to learn more about this telemedicine visit with our clinic.

Heart Patients’ Vulnerability to Coronavirus

Does having a heart condition put you at a greater risk for illness or death if you catch the coronavirus? Unfortunately, yes. According to the Center for Disease Control, people with serious heart conditions may suffer greater if catching the virus.

Graphic image showing high risk heart condition factors for COVID 19 coronavirus, helpful information from Zepick Cardiology in Wichita, KS

Some of the heart conditions that increase your risk for serious complications include:

  • Heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Cardiomyopathies

Advice for People with Heart Conditions

The best thing you can do if you have an underlying heart condition is to continue your efforts to be healthy. Continue taking your medications as prescribed. Make sure you do not run out. It is best to keep at least a 2-week supply of any medications you need.

As people with cardiovascular conditions are at a greater risk for COVID-19 complications, you need to be sure that you are taking necessary precautions to avoid contact with others. Realize that many people without symptoms could be carriers of the coronavirus, so minimize how much contact you have with others and maintain a 6-foot distance. It is recommended you wear a mask, and ask that friends and family also wear masks to help protect those like you who are more vulnerable to the virus.

Questions About Your Heart Treatment?

A question some people may be wondering: Is it safe to see my doctor? The short answer is ‘Yes’. We have implemented additional safety measures beyond our already rigid procedures to further minimize contact and risk of catching the coronavirus. You do not need to reschedule your appointment or delay getting the care you need at our cardiology clinic.

Knowing that our patients are in this vulnerable group, Zepick Cardiology is doing everything possible to keep our heart patients safe and free from risk. Contact us online or call us at (316) 616-2020 with your questions or concerns about clinic visits or care.

You can learn more about other factors that put some people at greater risk of suffering from COVID-19 at the CDC’s website.

High altitude activities and patients with cardiovascular risk

Posted By admin
Categoirzed Under: Healthy Habits, Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Comments Off on High altitude activities and patients with cardiovascular risk

Houston, TX – A new review aiming to help physicians advise patients who are considering high-altitude activities such as trekking and skiing has been published in the January 2010 issue of the American Heart Journal [1].

Dr John P Higgins

Lead author Dr John P Higgins (University of Texas Medical School, Houston), a sports cardiologist, told heartwire: “We have issued two sets of recommendations. The first is for doctors seeing anyone who is relatively healthy and mentions that they are thinking of doing a trek to Kilimanjaro, for example. The second set is specifically for cardiac patients.”

Higgins says much of the advice is “common sense” and many cardiac patients anticipating such activities are pretty sensible and know what they are capable of. “If the disease is not too bad, in most cases the travel is possible with some very minor adjustment in medications and education about what to look out for,” he notes.

But there are those “who are having a mid-life crisis, have just turned 60 and might have had a heart attack in their 50s, and say, ‘Before I die, I want to do this expedition,’ ” he observes. Some of these latter patients “have no idea, and they can really run into trouble.”

Click on this link to read the whole article at

More Mediterranean

Posted By admin
Categoirzed Under: Diet, Healthy Habits
Comments Off on More Mediterranean

I can’t cook for a darn, but the doctors at Zepick Cardiology recommend following the Mediterranean diet as an alternative to what you might be eating right now.

“The traditional Mediterranean diet is also proven to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease (such as heart attacks), cancer, and dementia. So I’m a huge advocate of the diet.”

Excerpted from Click on the link to see recipes.

Fresh and delicious recipes, plus tips on healthy Mediterranean foods

Rich in culture and food history, the nations on the shores of the brilliant azure Mediterranean Sea—Italy, Spain, France, Morocco, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Israel—have all contributed something special to the colorful, vibrant tapestry that is Mediterranean cuisine. Key components of Mediterranean cuisine include heart-healthy olive oil, protein-rich legumes, fish and whole grains with moderate amounts of wine and red meat. The flavors are rich, and the health benefits for people choosing a Mediterranean diet are hard to ignore—they are less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol or become obese. This collection features delicious and nourishing recipes that evoke the essence of the Mediterranean region while helping you work your way toward optimal health.

Herbal Products and Cardiovascular Disease

Posted By admin
Categoirzed Under: Healthy Habits
Comments Off on Herbal Products and Cardiovascular Disease

The JACC looks at how herbal supplements can interact with the drugs that cardiologists prescribe regularly. If you take these supplements you might want to read the following article. It was published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology which is the academic/scientific journal for cardiology doctors.

This is the summary. Click on the hyperlink below for the full article:

More than 15 million people in the U.S. consume herbal remedies or high-dose vitamins. The number of visits to providers of complementary and alternative medicine exceeds those to primary care physicians, for annual out-of-pocket costs of $30 billion. Use of herbal products forms the bulk of treatments, particularly by elderly people who also consume multiple prescription medications for comorbid conditions, which increases the risk of adverse herb-drug-disease interactions. Despite the paucity of scientific evidence supporting the safety or efficacy of herbal products, their widespread promotion in the popular media and the unsubstantiated health care claims about their efficacy drive consumer demand. In this review, we highlight commonly used herbs and their interactions with cardiovascular drugs. We also discuss health-related issues of herbal products and suggest ways to improve their safety to better protect the public from untoward effects.

Taken from the JACC online

Mediterranean Diet

Posted By admin
Categoirzed Under: Diet
Comments Off on Mediterranean Diet

One of the biggest health risks Americans face is our diet. Zepick Cardiology recommends changing the way we think about diet as a way to help in the fight against diabetes, coronary heart disease and obesity.

Next I’ll post a website with some recipes.

Here’s an article from the American Heart Association:

What is the “Mediterranean” diet?

There’s no one “Mediterranean” diet. At least 16 countries border the Mediterranean Sea. Diets vary between these countries and also between regions within a country. Many differences in culture, ethnic background, religion, economy and agricultural production result in different diets. But the common Mediterranean dietary pattern has these characteristics:

* high consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
* olive oil is an important monounsaturated fat source
* dairy products, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, and little red meat is eaten
* eggs are consumed zero to four times a week
* wine is consumed in low to moderate amounts

Does a Mediterranean-style diet follow American Heart Association dietary recommendations?

Mediterranean-style diets are often close to our dietary recommendations, but they don’t follow them exactly. In general, the diets of Mediterranean peoples contain a relatively high percentage of calories from fat. This is thought to contribute to the increasing obesity in these countries, which is becoming a concern.

People who follow the average Mediterranean diet eat less saturated fat than those who eat the average American diet. In fact, saturated fat consumption is well within our dietary guidelines.

More than half the fat calories in a Mediterranean diet come from monounsaturated fats (mainly from olive oil). Monounsaturated fat doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels the way saturated fat does.

The incidence of heart disease in Mediterranean countries is lower than in the United States. Death rates are lower, too. But this may not be entirely due to the diet. Lifestyle factors (such as more physical activity and extended social support systems) may also play a part.

Before advising people to follow a Mediterranean diet, we need more studies to find out whether the diet itself or other lifestyle factors account for the lower deaths from heart disease. See the Lyon Diet Heart Study entry in this Guide for more information. Diet