Doctors school teens in A-B-Cs of vascular health

July 08, 2016 10:19 AM

CLIFTON PARK - One in four deaths in this country is caused by cardio-vascular disease. A local medical group is tackling that by reaching out to high school students.  It's a unique program NewsChannel 13 got to sit it on at Shenendehowa High School.

Dr. Manish Mehta is a vascular surgeon in Queensbury.

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“Vascular disease is the fastest growing disease anywhere in the U.S. as we know. It falls under the burden of cardiovascular, but PAD by itself, peripheral arterial disease, hardening of the arteries is one of the fastest growing risks today with the older population, aging people,” explained Dr. Mehta.

He hopes this lesson to students at Shenendehowa High School will mean less work for him down the road. That's because he's schooling them in the A-B-C's of vascular disease and how to prevent it.

WEB EXTRA: Dr. Manish Mehta

“The risk factors that affect you today have implications 20 to 30 years down later,” he told the students.

Dr. Mehta's been developing this project for some time. He collaborated with biology teacher Gina Barnum to bring his team to the school.

“I think it's a great idea for doctors to come, nurses to come and talk to these children. I think they're going hear and listen better from them than from us,” Barnum explained.

One look around the class and you know that's true, they're listening. They've bought into the message that their lives depend on this information.

“On a day to day if you don't have those risk factors the inside of your arteries are taking an insult like this,” said Mehta, as he beat one hand inside the other. “When you smoke, the insult, periodically when you smoke could be like this. That's enough to damage the inner lining.”

Before the school day is out, some 900 students will learn this lesson, a lesson aimed at empowering these teens to make changes in their lives.

“Because now that you know about this you can help prevent it, look for signs on family members and tell them about it,” noted Angel Ferrand, a Shenendehowa 10thgrader.

“It was very interesting to learn about the things that are going on and the ways you can prevent it without even knowing about it,” agreed Adam Gauer, another 10thgrader.

For those with a loved one already diagnosed with vascular disease,

“It actually educated me a lot. Maybe even bring up more that I can discuss with my parents,” noted Ashley Novik, a third 10th grader.

The perfect prescription to take from this class.

For Dr. Mehta and the others in his practice, the class was a first step.

Down the road, he wants to engage medical and nursing school students to teach high schoolers how to take blood pressure readings and get blood pressure cuffs into their hands to take home and just maybe, diagnose family members who don't know they've got hypertension.

NewsChannel 13’s Benita Zahn will keep you posted.


Benita Zahn

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