February is American Heart Health Month, a time to educate people about steps they can take to improve their heart health. It’s important to remember that heart health is a lifelong commitment, not just a week or a month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.
Dr. Ashfaq Turk, a cardiologist, emphasizes the importance of lifestyle modifications in decreasing the risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and diabetes. These modifications include abstaining from smoking, maintaining an ideal body weight, regular exercise, and a diet low in saturated fats. Saint Joseph Health System offers a comprehensive cardiac rehab program for people who have previously experienced a heart attack, heart disease, or open heart surgery.
The rehab program includes education on lifestyle modification, diet, and risk factor modification, as well as a monitored exercise program. Patients are also taught hands-on CPR in case they are ever around someone suffering from a heart attack. To participate in the cardiac rehab program, individuals must be referred by their cardiologist.