Hospital Marks Healthy Heart Month

Bermuda Hospitals Board launches Healthy Heart Month on 1 February by highlighting the importance of a comprehensive approach to coronary disease, the number one cause of death for both men and women here in Bermuda and around the world. Activities for the month include free health screenings in the hospital lobby between 11:00am and 2:00pm on Wednesday, 22 February 2012. Testing, carried out by specialized nurses will include blood pressure, blood sugar, weight circumference and Body Mass Index.

“The hospital currently provides our community with a range of cardiology services that include diagnostics and expert consults, as well as venues that address the learning needs of our heart patients,” said Dr. Carl Levick, BHB Director of Cardiology. “Our Cardiac Diagnostic Unit offers screening procedures designed to detect and monitor heart disease. These include electrocardiograms, echocardiograms and stress testing. We recently introduced nuclear imaging (for patients unable to ambulate on a treadmill) and trans-oesophageal echocardiography, which has expanded our ability to accurately diagnose and treat various heart conditions. As a result of these screening procedures, patients who may be having symptoms suggesting serious cardiac disease, such as chest discomfort and/or shortness of breath, can now receive a more conclusive diagnosis and appropriate treatment can be started.”

In addition, healthcare professionals at the hospital are placing a greater emphasis on the role of education and prevention in the fight against coronary disease. Lifestyle changes that include a healthy diet, moderate daily exercise and the reduction of stress levels are integral to the management of various risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and physical inactivity. Research has shown that managing these risk factors will significantly reduce the risk of cardiac events.

“If we continue with our current trends, one in two Bermudians will develop heart disease in their lifetime,” said Myrian Balitian-Dill, Cardiac Nurse Specialist. “Lifestyle changes and appropriate screening and treatment by primary care providers are effective ways to prevent heart disease, as well as a means to maintain health in those already affected by heart disease.”

The hospital offers several educational programmes based on wellness principles. These classes are designed to assist those who have risk factors, as well as those with existing heart disease, who want to learn about staying well. Intended to meet the specific needs of our population, courses include:
• Pressure Point- a four week course designed to assist those with high blood pressure.
• Heart Line- a four week course designed for patients recovering from a cardiac incident
• Quit Smart- a four week course offering power treatments to quit smoking and remain a non-smoker.
• Diabetes Education Classes- a one week course designed to control and manage diabetes.

“BHB is committed to the wellness of our community and to the prevention of heart disease,” adds Dr. Levick. “Our priority is providing quality patient care, comprehensive cardiology services and patient education for managing and controlling coronary disease.”

For more information or to enrol in any of the above courses, contact 239-2027.

In addition to free public screenings on 22 February, other events planned for Healthy Heart Month include a hospital lobby display and information table beginning 1 February and a series of presentations for healthcare professionals during the month:
1 February: Physicians Continuing Medical Education- Novel Therapies in Cardio Vascular Disease
2 February: Grand Rounds- Coronary Revascularization, a Woman’s Perspective with Dr. Varinder P. Singh, New York Presbyterian Hospital
15 February: Physicians Continuing Medical Education– Current Management Options in Atrial Fibrillation
16 February: Nursing Learning Lunch– Current Management Options in Atrial Fibrillation, Videoconference with David Martin, MD, FRCP, Lahey Clinic Medical Center

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