Keeping a Pulse on Healthy Lifestyles
Growing up with a mother who is a family practitioner, Dr. Royce Yount, Jr., always knew he wanted to go into medicine. But it was not until his third year of medical school at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, during his clinical rotations, that he decided to pursue cardiology.
“It fascinated me, and cardiology has maintained my interest over the years,” he says. “It combines internal medicine with procedural methods, and the technology is constantly evolving.”
Dr. Yount, who specializes in interventional cardiology and cardiovascular diseases, says that since he entered the field, there has been quite an evolution in the types of technologies and methods used in interventional cardiology. He started practicing “at the cusp” of when stents were first introduced, and, he recalls thinking, “they were the greatest things in the world.” Over the past two decades, the field has progressed rapidly; Dr. Yount cites stents that have been treated with chemotherapy formulas to treat acute problems as well as prevent problems in the future, and he looks forward to a development in which stents would dissolve on their own.
While a great deal of his interventional cardiology practice is procedural, Dr. Yount says he focuses strongly on helping his patients achieve and maintain good physical health.
“Medical therapy has become more involved since I have been in practice,” he explains. “We are putting greater emphasis on preventing future issues with medicine and teaching our patients healthy practices.”
Practicing in southeast Louisiana, where diets are high in sodium and fat, Dr. Yount sees higher incidents of hypertension and heart attack. He says one of the greatest challenges is raising patients’ awareness about the foods they eat.
“In our office, we try to teach people how to take care of themselves,” he says. “When I meet with a patient, we talk about their risk factors, [and] examine their diet and their exercise habits. When I assess a patient’s health, I’m looking at more than just his or her heart. The risks for stroke, kidney failure and issues with your carotid arteries are all affected by a person’s lifestyle. I talk to my patients about diet, especially sodium, fat and calories. We’ll also look at other unhealthy habits; believe it or not, I still have to tell people that smoking is bad for you!”
Dr. Yount believes that weight loss — and keeping the weight off by exercising — is equally important as a healthy diet. “Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand,” he says. “Of course, I have to tailor my recommendations to the individual patient, but, generally, I advise people to make exercise a part of their daily routine. That way, if you miss a day, it’s not like you’re missing half of your weekly exercise regimen. The greatest pitfall of diet is temptation, and the pitfall of exercise is scheduling. But if you make it a part of your routine, you are taking a major step toward a healthy lifestyle.”
During the holidays, Dr. Yount also stresses the importance of maintaining exercise and healthy eating habits, saying that it’s particularly important to monitor sodium intake. “This is New Orleans, and eating is a big part of how we celebrate,” he says. “But if you adapt your life around exercise and healthy choices most of the time, you can indulge every so often without it throwing off your overall health.”
Crescent City Cardiovascular
3715 Prytania St.
Medical School: Louisiana State University School of Medicine
Residency: Louisiana State University, Internal Medicine
Fellowship: Louisiana State University, Interventional Cardiology
Board Certifications: Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, Interventional Cardiology