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February Is National Heart Health Month

February is National Heart Health Month and Washington County Hospital (WCH) is spreading awareness about how to manage and prevent heart disease.

WCH has recently hosted CPR training for the community. The Medical Group staff is always happy to check your blood pressure anytime.

Another resource 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 provides access to Cardiovascular physicians through Specialty Clinics.

Dr. Phillip Apprill has office hours three-to-four Mondays per month. Dr. Apprill is associated with SSM Heart Institute of St. Louis, Mo.

A new addition to the Specialty Clinics is Dr. Avinash Murthy. Dr. Murthy will be seeing patients on the first and third Thursday of each month. He is associated with Southern Illinois Heart and Vascular Center in Mt. Vernon.

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

• Breaking 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!

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