February is American Heart Month
How to stay heart healthy and prevent disease; MRH adds new cardiologist to team
Sponsored content by Memorial Regional Health
February is a great time to learn about heart-healthy tips and preventing heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year — one in every four deaths. While heart disease is preventable, the American Heart Association states that nearly 60 percent of people put no effort into improving their heart health. Heart-healthy living and protecting our cardiac health starts with understanding our risks.
“To support heart health, I visit with patients who have heart problems or potential heart problems to help them feel better, live longer and rule out any detrimental cardiac issues,” said Dr. Nelson Prager, new visiting cardiologist at Memorial Regional Health.
What is heart disease and who is at risk?
Heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions — the most common being coronary heart disease, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Coronary heart disease occurs when a person’s arteries become clogged and can lead to stroke, heart failure and peripheral artery disease.
Americans who are at higher risk for heart disease include those with high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol or who are smokers. According to the CDC, other risk factors include diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use.
To determine if you have heart disease, your provider will perform several tests such as a chest X-ray, a coronary angiogram, an electrocardiogram and/or an exercise stress test.
Heart-healthy tips to practice
To protect yourself from heart disease, ask your provider about your blood pressure, cholesterol and other important heart numbers. If your numbers are high, they can work with you about treating your condition or prevent it from worsening.
“Don’t smoke, eat a healthy diet, exercise, and if you have symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath or irregular heartbeats, don’t ignore them,” Dr. Prager said.
•Eat healthier — Reduce the sodium, added sugars and saturated and trans fats in your diet while increasing your number of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
•Be active — Even if you’re just moving your body for 10 minutes a day, physical activity can lower your cholesterol levels, help you manage high blood pressure and lower your risk for diabetes.
•Quit smoking — It can raise your risk of heart disease and heart attack while worsening other risk factors.
•Manage your stress — Research shows stress contributes to high blood pressure. Participate in healthy stress-reducing activities such as therapy, medication and being physically active.
New addition to the team
Dr. Prager, a board-certified cardiologist from Aurora Denver Cardiology Associates, will begin visiting with MRH cardiology patients in March. He will be on-site two days each month.
Dr. Prager is a native of Colorado, and his family has been in the state for more than 100 years. He attained his medical degree from the University of Colorado Medical School and completed his residency at the Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver. He has had hospital appointments at healthcare facilities all around Colorado, including The Medical Center of Aurora, Vail Valley Medical Center, Rose Medical Center and many others.
Dr. Prager is board-certified in interventional cardiology, clinical cardiac electrophysiology, cardiovascular disease and internal medicine. He is currently an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He is ready and eager to start providing services in Moffat County at Memorial Regional Health.
“I am invested in Colorado healthcare,” he said. “I’m looking forward to helping people with cardiovascular disease and expanding cardiology services at MRH. I hope we can reach as many people as we can locally so they don’t have to travel to receive quality cardiovascular care.”
Cardiology tests that can be performed at the Memorial Regional Health Cardiology Clinic include:
•24-hour Holter Monitors
•30-day cardiac event monitors
•Nuclear treadmill testing
•Cardiac CT studies and calcium scoring
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