February is National Heart Health Month

Washington County Hospital is spreading awareness about management and prevention of heart disease.

The Medical Group staff is always happy to check your blood pressure anytime. Another great resource here at WCH is the Cardiac Rehabilitation program.  Cardiac Rehab is a physician-referred exercise program that is designed to help improve heart function, increase strength, and help you become more active and more independent.  Participants in the Cardiac Rehab program also have education and information provided on decreasing the risk factors of heart disease, managing a heart healthy diet, medications, and stress management.  They also learn the benefits of safe and effective exercise.  For more information on the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at WCH, please contact us at 618-327-2225.

WCH also provides access to excellent cardiovascular physicians through our Specialty Clinics. Dr. Phillip Apprill has office hours 3-4 Mondays per month.  Dr. Apprill is associated with SSM Heart Institute of St. Louis, MO.  Dr. Avinash Murthy has office hours on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month.  Dr. Murthy is associated with Southern Illinois Heart and Vascular Center in Mt. Vernon, IL.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

Heart disease (coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease) is narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries that take blood to the heart. This is caused by cholesterol and fatty material called plaque.  Plaque is a result of fat and cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure, smoking, or too much sugar in the blood (caused by diabetes).  When the arteries that go to the heart are blocked by plaque, you can experience chest pains, or have a heart attack.  A heart attack is when the heart does not get blood flow due to blockage.  If you do not get help immediately, part of the heart may die.  Some signs of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain (pressure, squeezing, or fullness)
  • Pain or discomfort in the upper body (arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach above the belly button)
  • Trouble breathing
  • Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or unusually tired
  • Break out in a cold sweat

You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is very important for people who already have heart disease.  To lower your risk:

  • Watch your weight.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure with diet and exercise.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Most importantly: Get active and eat healthy!

Click Go Red For Women to learn more.