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February is Heart Month and a good reminder to take some time to get your heart checked.  

Take an example from Harry the Husky, who just went to the UW Medicine Heart Institute for an echocardiogram, commonly called an ECHO, which is a noninvasive procedure that uses sound waves that “echo” off your heart and create a 3D image of it for doctors to look at.


The Heart Institute team hopes the video will help educate people about ECHOs and that they’re a safe, effective way to learn more about your heart.  

It can be scary to have symptoms — such as chest pain, heart palpitations or shortness of breath — that could indicate a heart problem. After all, heart disease is the leading cause of death for most people in the U.S. However, it is possible to live a full life with a heart condition — especially if you get treatment for it sooner rather than later.  

Along with ECHOs there are many other noninvasive or minimally invasive techniques used to diagnose heart conditions, such as stress tests and CT scans.  

It’s important to talk with a doctor if you have any symptoms of heart disease. Having diabetes or high blood pressure, being sedentary and smoking are all factors that put you at higher risk for heart disease, so it’s even more important to talk with your doctor if these apply to you. 

In this case, what you don’t know can definitely hurt you, as untreated heart disease can lead to heart attack, stroke and other medical emergencies.  

There are plenty of options for treating heart conditions before they reach that point. Medical procedures, medications and lifestyle changes can all make a difference.  

So watch Harry the Husky’s ECHO procedure and then do something to benefit your own heart health, whether that’s making an appointment at the Heart Institute, learning more about heart disease, or reading tips for helping your heart stay healthy.  

Photo Credit: Kevin Ke