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Olean General Hospital

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Make changes for a healthier heart

Posted on: 02/01/2017

February is American Heart Month, presenting the opportunity to raise awareness about heart disease and encourage people to take preventive steps to decrease their risk of having a heart attack. We know that 600,000 people will die of heart disease in the United States every year, making it the leading cause of death in both men and women. More than 700,000 Americans will have a heart attack this year. Coronary artery disease alone costs the United States $109 billion each year in terms of health care services, medications and lost productivity.

Olean General Hospital (OGH) is on the front line in the battle against heart disease. The hospital’s ER, accredited Chest Pain Center, interventional cardiac catheterization laboratory and other services are diagnosing, treating heart disease and saving lives. The cardiac catheterization lab opened in October 2013 in partnership with Kaleida Health’s Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute (BRMC/GVI). The hospital recently added electrophysiology services, cardiology clinic, congestive heart failure and heart valve clinics, also in partnership with BRMC/GVI, further expanding its heart care capabilities.

In 2016 the cardiac catheterization lab received the Silver Plus designation by the American Heart Association’s Mission Life Line for consistently achieving STEMI (Heart Attack) receiving center performance and quality measures. OGH is the only hospital in the region and one of only six in New York state to hold full accreditation for its Chest Pain Center from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.

It’s a much needed arsenal against heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke are the number one causes of death and disability among people with diabetes. At least 65 percent of people with diabetes die from some form of heart disease or stroke. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes. Sadly statistics point out that Cattaraugus County has one of the highest incidents of heart disease in New York state one of the highest rates of death due to heart disease.

Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Unfortunately, obesity is rising at an alarming rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States over the last 20 years and rates remain high. More than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9%) and approximately 17% (or 12.7 million) of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 are obese.

Stroke is the cousin of heart disease and the cause of death for more than 140,000 Americans each year. Nearly 800,000 will suffer a stroke this year and while nearly three quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65, it is alarming that 200,000 people under the age of 65 will have a stroke this year. In many cases stroke is caused by plaque built up in the coronary and carotid arteries, which breaks loose and lodges in the brain’s blood vessels, cutting off precious oxygen.

Alzheimer’s Disease affects an estimated 5.2 million Americans, including approximately 200,000 people under the age of 65. More than 500,000 people over the age of 65 die each year because they have Alzheimer’s. Clinical studies have shown that heart failure is associated with an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.

The good news in all of this is that the risk of heart disease and other life threatening conditions can be reduced or controlled by basic lifestyle changes.

Exercise is one of the best ways to help you reduce your risk for heart disease and can benefit you, even if you already have heart disease. Exercise can reduce blood pressure, improve your breathing and strengthen your heart. Be sure to talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program if you have a heart condition.

Quit smoking. Using tobacco of in any form is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease.

Eat healthier. Following a healthy diet could lower your risk of heart disease by 25%. Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and lean meat. If you are overweight or obese, you don’t have to crash diet. Losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight improves cholesterol and lowers your blood sugar and blood pressure.

Reduce your use of alcohol. Although alcohol in moderation can actually be good for your heart, too much alcohol raises your blood pressure and increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Take your heart medicine. One study showed that 130,000 Americans die every year because they failed to take their heart medicines the way their doctors instructed.

Above all, pay attention to the signs and symptom of a heart attack.
• Chest pressure
• Shortness of breath
• Feeling of numbness
• Nausea
• Pain that travels down one or both arms
• Jaw pain
• Fatigue
• Back pain
• Anxiety
• Feeling of fullness

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 right away. If you have any questions about your heart or have concerns, talk to your doctor.

During Heart Month, and every month, Olean General Hospital stands ready to care for your heart and urges everyone to take steps to improve their heart health.

Christopher Mallavarapu, MD, medical director of the interventional cardiac catheterization laboratory at Olean General Hospital, and the OGH cardiac team have performed more than 1,600 cardiac catheterizations, more than 500 interventions. More than 250 patients have received emergency cardiac intervention due to a heart attack. The interventional cardiac catheterization laboratory is operated jointly by the OGH and Kaleida Health’s Buffalo General Medical Center and Gates Vascular Institute.

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