Windber Medical Center

WIN 2014

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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H E A R T H E A L T H (continued from page 24) risk factors to start on a new path and lessen the likelihood of progressing again." PARTICIPATE IN REHAB A 2011 study by researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada analyzed 47 cardiac rehabilitation studies with 10,794 patients who had heart events or heart disease. Compared with those getting traditional care, the patients who received exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation had a 13 percent reduction in mortality, a 26 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality and a 31 percent reduction in hospital admissions. Cardiac rehabilitation programs typically include a combination of exercise, weight loss, nutrition, smoking cessation and stress management. "Cardiac rehab assists with weight loss, modifies blood pressure and cholesterol and improves one's ability to regulate glucose—all important factors in preventing heart disease," says Dr. Patricia Rylko, who specializes in cardiovascular diseases and internal medicine at Pocono Health System, East Stroudsburg, Pa. GET EXERCISE Being active—under your physician's guidance—can increase weight loss, improve lipid profiles, reduce blood pressure and help prevent and treat type 2 diabetes. "Normally, we want people to increase their aerobic activity," says Dr. Jon Peacock, medical director and noninvasive cardiologist at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's, Sioux City, Iowa. "This includes walking or perhaps a slow jog or bicycling. However, we don't suggest any heavy lifting or activities that would put a lot of strain on the heart." "Exercise should be performed for a minimum of 30 minutes per day at least five days per week," adds Dr. Eve Gerasimou, a cardiologist at Benefis Health System, Great Falls, Mont. "It should also be supplemented by an increase in daily lifestyle activities, such as gardening or household chores." { EAT A HEART-HEALTHY DIET While most heart-healthy diets focus on cholesterol, each patient's needs are different. "The diet that has proven time and time again to improve heart disease outcomes is the Mediterranean diet, which is high in grains and veggies and low in [bad] fats, while providing reasonable protein," says Dr. Shihabi. A diet low in salt is also essential. "I recommend four to six grams of sodium per day," Dr. Peacock says. "A low-sodium diet protects against high blood pressure and congestive heart failure." Saturated fats should make up less than 7 percent of your daily calories, says Dr. Rylko, and you'll need to eliminate damaging trans fats. "We teach patients to start reading labels, because one prepared dinner can be much more than what your daily intake [of fats] should be," she says. MANAGE STRESS The link between psychological stress and atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is both direct and indirect, explains Dr. Gerasimou. Stress directly damages the coronary arteries and indirectly affects heart function through traditional stress-related risk factors such as smoking, hypertension and cholesterol metabolism. An overall preventive strategy that includes reducing stressful environments, removing stressors, changing the perception of stressors or eliminating the psychological reaction to the stressor is best. Stress management techniques typically involve relaxing muscles, breathing deeply, resting in a quiet environment and learning coping skills. Talk to your physician to help find the right solution for your lifestyle. • "Cardiac rehab assists with weight loss, modifes blood pressure and cholesterol and improves one's ability to regulate glucose." ~ Dr. Patricia Rylko, Pocono Health System, East Stroudsburg, Pa. SHUTTERSTOCK 30 SPI RIT O F WOM EN W I N T E R 2 014 w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m

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