‘Heart & Vascular’ Category


SOMC Cardiac Rehab Obtains AACVPR Certification

DSC_4305WebThe Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Southern Ohio Medical Center has received re-certification from the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). SOMC Cardiac Rehab was recognized for its commitment to improving a patient’s quality of life by enhancing standards of care.

“Cardiovascular programs are designed to help people with cardiovascular problems (such as heart attacks, stents, angioplasty, open heart surgery, and congestive heart failure) recover faster and improve their quality of life,” Keri Imm, nurse manager of SOMC Cardiac Rehab, said. “Our programs incorporate exercise, education, counseling, and support for patients and their families.”

To receive AACVPR certification, the SOMC Cardiac Rehab program participated in an application process that required extensive documentation of its practices. AACVPR certification is the only peer-reviewed accreditation process designed to review individual programs for adherence to standards and guidelines developed and published by AACVPR and other professional societies. Programs are reviewed by the AACVPR Program Certification Committee and certification is awarded by the AACVPR Board of Directors.

Imm added that programs certified by the AACVPR are recognized as leaders in the field of cardiovascular rehabilitation because they offer the most advanced practices available. SOMC’s AACVRP certification is valid for three years.

Nagrani and El Bash pass endovascular boards

Two cardiologists at Southern Ohio Medical Center, Dr. Tarun Nagrani and Dr. Salah El-Bash, recently passed their endovascular boards. They are now certified under the American Board of Vascular Medicine (ABVM), an independent organization dedicated to developing and maintaining high standards in vascular medicine.

“It’s important to me that I am able to provide my patients with the best care possible,” Dr. El-Bash said. “That’s why this certification means so much to me.”

“Completing my endovascular boards required a significant investment of time, but I don’t look at it as an investment in myself,” Dr. Nagrani said. “It’s an investment in my patients and an investment in my community. That’s an investment that is always worth making.”

The ABVM’s mission statement is to “provide a high quality certification process to recognize expertise in the field of vascular medicine.”

For more information about heart and vascular services at SOMC, visit somc.org/heart.

Be heart-healthy this Heart Month

In the spirit of Heart Month, SOMC is encouraging you to try out these heart-healthy tips in the month of February.

Quit smoking! Smoking is one of the top, controllable risk factors for heart disease – so don’t do it. If you smoke, call 740-356-2720 and ask about SOMC’s free smoking cessation classes.

Knit a scarf or solve a jigsaw puzzle – anything that puts your hands to work and your mind to rest. It relieves stress and makes a huge difference for your heart.

Just dance. It doesn’t matter what music moves you, dancing raises your heart rate, burns calories and makes for a heart-healthy exercise.

Go fish! Studies have shown that including fish high in omega-3 fatty acids into your diet reduces the risk of heart disease by a third or more. If you worry about the risk of mercury content or other contaminants in fish, consider that the Mayo Clinic has stated that the healthy benefits of fish outweigh the possible risks of exposure to toxic elements.

Laugh out loud. Not on your keyboard or cell phone, but in real life! Laughing is good for your heart, so take some time for something that tickles your funny bone.

Get up and move. New studies show that sitting for long periods of time could shorten your life expectancy regardless of your weight. Being a couch potato has an unhealthy influence on blood fats and blood sugar. At the office, try to work in “get up” breaks and go for a stroll.

Eat some chocolate – you read that right. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that rich, dark chocolate can help stave off heart disease.

Consider pet therapy. Pets do more than give us unconditional love, they also offer numerous health benefits. Studies reported by the National Institutes of Health show that owning a pet can lower the rate of dying from heart disease and possibly improve heart and lung function.

Brush up! Good dental hygiene does more than keep your smile bright and white, it also affects your overall health. Harvard researchers believe that several types of cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, may be connected to oral health.

These tips, and others, can be found at healthline.com. For more information about how you can live a heart healthy lifestyle, visit somc.org/heart.

Miss Wheelersburg donates to SOMC Heart and Vascular Fund

Julianna Logan DonationWebMiss Wheelersburg Julianna Logan, a contestant in the 2015 River Days Queen’s Pageant, recently donated $1225 to the SOMC Heart and Vascular Fund. The fund supports patients who have experienced heart attacks or other heart health issues. Logan, who was diagnosed with a heart murmur as a child, has dedicated her River Days candidacy to the issue of heart health.

Logan raised the donated funds by holding a “Run For Your Life! Zombie 5K,” which drew more than 120 participants – many of whom were dressed in full zombie attire and with full makeup.

Understanding heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 600,000 Americans every year. That’s one out of every four deaths in the country.

But what is heart disease? It’s a term that refers to several conditions, most commonly coronary artery disease – which can cause heart attacks. Other kinds of heart disease may involve the valves in the heart, can cause heart failure and prevent the heart from pumping well.

Anyone, including children, can develop heart disease. Some people are actually born with it. It occurs when plaque builds up in your arteries, causing them to narrow over time and reduce blood flow to the heart. There are a number of factors that can increase your odds of developing heart disease. Smoking, eating an unhealthy diet and not getting enough exercise are all culprits. Your risk is also increased by high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The symptoms of heart disease vary depending on the type, but for most people the first sign is chest discomfort or a heart attack. Other signs include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away after a few minutes
  • Pain or discomfort in the back, neck or back
  • Weakness, light-headedness, nausea or a cold sweat
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

To learn more about heart disease, visit www.somc.org/heart

Managing cholesterol is a balancing act

Managing your cholesterol can be a balancing act. To best reduce your chances of heart disease, you want to have low levels of total cholesterol, but you want higher levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol.

That’s because not all cholesterol was created equal.

HDL cholesterol is also known as “good” cholesterol. It helps prevent “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins, or LDL) from getting lodged in your artery walls. It does this by acting as cholesterol scavengers. It picks up excess cholesterol in your blood and takes it back to your liver where it’s broken down. By doing this, it reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

LDL cholesterol, however, can clog your arteries and increase your risk of heart attack. The body produces it naturally, but many people inherit genes from their family that cause them to make too much. You can also create higher levels by eating saturated fat and trans fats.

The good news is there are things you can do to make sure you have the right balance of cholesterol (high levels of HDL, low levels of LDL). Avoiding tobacco smoke, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active can all help. So can eating whole grains, such as oatmeal, oat bran and whole-wheat products.

Everyone is different, so in addition to taking these simple steps you should also consult with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to work with you to find the treatment plan that best suits your needs.

Healthy habits can help manage, or even prevent, high blood pressure

It is natural for your blood pressure to go up and down overtime, but when it stays high for long periods of time it can create problems. High blood pressure, also known as “hypertension,” is a serious condition hat can lead to many health problems – including heart disease and stroke.

There are a number of risk factors that can contribute to high blood pressure. Smoking, stress, unhealthy eating habits, being overweight and a lack of physical activity all plays a role. Family history and advanced age are also factors.

Regardless of why you have high blood pressure, however, it is something that can sometimes be controlled by making various lifestyle changes. Several ways to manage your blood pressure include being smoke-free, getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, eating a balanced diet low in saturated fats and sodium and finding ways to manage your stress.

If these lifestyle changes are not enough, your healthcare provider may consider starting a medication to help. There are several different types and categories that can lower your blood pressure (and offer other health benefits). Talk to your doctor if you feel this may be necessary in your case.

Eating healthy, being active and avoiding tobacco are not just strategies to lower blood pressure, however. They are also ways to avoid having high blood pressure to begin with! There are usually no symptoms associated with hypertension, so the best to protect yourself is to adopt a healthy lifestyle and make a habit out of getting routine blood pressure checks.

Poor sleep can increase your risk of heart disease

Everyone knows that a good night’s rest can do wonders for how you feel, but you may not fully realize just how important sleep can be to your health. Poor sleep can actually increase your risk of developing heart disease.

Sleep disorders are medical problems that interfere with the amount you sleep or the quality of your sleep. Untreated sleep disorders, in particular sleep apnea, can have serious health consequences such as hypertension, congestive heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms and stroke. In fact:

  • About 40% of people with hypertension also have obstructive sleep apnea.
  • The changes in breathing caused by sleep apnea affect oxygen levels, blood pressure and heart rate. This leads to increased stress on the heart that can result in hypertension, congestive heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms and stroke.
  • About 75% of individuals with heart failure suffer from some form of sleep apnea. Treatment can improve heart function and quality of sleep.
  • Approximately 40,000 cardiovascular deaths a year are related to untreated sleep apnea.
  • Nearly 50% of individuals that have had a stroke also have sleep apnea.
  • Men with moderate to severe sleep apnea are nearly three times more likely to have a stroke than men without sleep apnea.
  • Nearly 50% of atrial fibrillation patients have sleep-disordered breathing.
  • Treatment for sleep-disordered breathing in atrial fibrillation patients has been shown to reduce the race of reoccurrence.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, nighttime gasping or coughing, difficulty breathing when lying flat, frequent awakenings, dry mouth or dry throat in the morning and morning headaches. If you suspect that you, or someone you love, suffers from sleep apnea contact the SOMC Sleep Diagnostic Center at 740-356-8822.

Improving heart health may be easier than you think

Across the United States, the month of February is recognized as National Heart Month. It is a time when many organizations, including Southern Ohio Medical Center, seek to shine a spotlight on the keys to a healthy heart and why it’s so important.

Some factors that put you at risk are unavoidable. For example, you can’t help but grow older. There are, however, many changes you can implement today to improve your health.

If you smoke, quitting is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health as it has been closely linked to heart disease (and a host of other diseases). SOMC can even help you drop the habit through free smoking cessation classes.

Your blood pressure and cholesterol also play major factors in your heart’s health. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder than normal. Cholesterol, meanwhile, can clog your arteries and raise your risk of a heart attack. Adopting a healthy diet and increasing physical activity can control both of these factors.

While losing weight will help, it is healthier to lose it slowly. Crash diets, very-low calorie diets, cleansings and fasts have all been shown to weaken the immune system and damage heart muscles. This will actually increase the threat of developing heart disease.

Aside from replacing bad habits with good diet and exercise, there are other ways – some you may not have considered – to improve your heart health.

Adopting a pet, for example, can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. If you happen to have a dog, it can also make a great exercise buddy! Drinking green tea can also help by improving blood vessel function, and eating a small amount of dark chocolate can reduce the inflammation that leads to cardiovascular disease. Practicing good dental hygiene is also important as there is a correlation between gum disease and heart problems. Other changes, like limiting your intake of sodium, can also help.

Although it may seem overwhelming, it does not need to be. SOMC is here to help – and will even provide a registered dietitian to help you pick out healthy foods during your next trip to Kroger, free of charge!

For more information about SOMC’s Heart Smart Cart shopping program, call 740-356-8649. To sign up for one of SOMC’s free smoking cessation classes, call 740-356-2552. Additional information can also be found at www.somc.org.