CPRMC medical staff discusses Heart Health at ‘Lunch & Learn’
By Stephan Drew, Editor
On Thursday, February 9th, Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center held a “Lunch & Learn” seminar where the subject was Cardiac Health: Prevention and Treatments. The speakers were Susan Wayne, CPRMC Heart Failure Quality Coordinator, and Dr. Mark Stellingworth, CPRMC Cardiologist and Chief of Staff. The purpose of the event was to teach patients how to recognize symptoms of heart failure as early as possible and the ways to treat it, even without medical intervention. Susan Wayne is a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT), a Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) and a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS), and specializes in Cardiac Care. She explained that there are certain things anyone can do to monitor their heart health. Some things you may do everyday are: Weight yourself and check your blood pressure. Remember to write them down and keep a log. You also need to watch your feet and ankles for swelling, which may indicated fluid retention, which can lead to Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and other cardiac conditions. Wayne stated the importance of taking your medications as they are prescribed and, remembering to have them refilled a few days before they run out so you will not miss any doses. Decrease sodium (salt) in your diet by eliminating canned foods as often as possible. Canned foods have a lot of sodium and preservatives which can damage the heart over time. Eat healthy foods and limit salt intake. Eat frozen vegetables if necessary, rather than canned. She also stressed exercise. “Simple movement,” she said, “even if it’s just around the house or to the mailbox, just move.” “There is no one size fits all treatment for cardiac health,” Wayne emphasized, “each individual is different and may respond differently to medications and treatments.” Dr. Stellingworth discussed the “remodeling” of the heart. Since the heart is a large football-shaped muscle which is constantly exercising (pumping blood), when it is overworked, it grows (enlarges) and becomes “basketball-shaped”. Certain medications help regulate the heart rate and rhythm and can bring down the size of (remodel) the heart. Stellingworth also discussed different diagnostic tests your doctor may order to properly diagnose your exact problem. “Heart failure patients can be very complicated,” Stellingworth said, “because by the time they’re in distress, they have significant other problems.” The more precise your doctor is with a specific diagnosis, the better your heart will respond to the particular regimen of care they prescribe. The better you respond to your treatment, the healthier you become and the better you feel. Wayne and Stellingworth discussed the four key factors that all patients should know about and monitor: 1) Blood Sugar – High blood sugar can increase your risk of heart problems. 2) Blood Pressure – Blood pressure can be high without proper diet or exercise. 3) Cholesterol Numbers – Cholesterol is raised by eating fatty foods. 4) Family History – know whether anyone in your family had heart disease. February is Heart Health Month. To find out if your heart is healthy, schedule a checkup with your healthcare provider today. If you are a patient at Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center, or would like to be, please contact them at 843-383-2764 for an appointment.