The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute Recommends a Heart Healthy Lifestyle

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long-beach-memorial 2011 Gallup Great Workplace AwardNearly 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States ever year – that’s one in every four deaths – making it the leading cause of death. To prevent that figure from increasing, it’s crucial for Americans to learn their risk factors and adopt lifestyle choices that promote overall cardiovascular health.

The key risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking, and nearly half of Americans (49 percent) have at least one of these three risk factors.

“Identifying certain medical risk factors early on and managing them is central to preventing heart disease,” says Gregory Thomas, M.D., medical director, MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Memorial. “But the best defense is adopting a heart healthy lifestyle that consists of regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, minimal stress and abstaining from smoking.”

More than ever, lifestyle choices are putting people at risk for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, despite recent progress in smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure rates, other risk factors such as obesity and diabetes are on the rise.

The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day and a diet rich in fruits, whole grains and vegetables, as well as limited sodium intake and alcohol consumption.

Specialists at the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute help patients determine their risks for cardiovascular disease and peripheral vascular disease, and provide them with valuable preventive strategies. Individualized screening programs are offered to measure risks for heart attack, stroke and other related diseases, at a low-cost.

“It’s essential that people with high risk factors learn the warning signs of a heart attack,” says Dr. Thomas. “Heart attack related deaths can be prevented if the symptoms are recognized early on.”

Although chest pain is a classic sign of a heart attack, it occurs in only about half of all cases. For those without chest pain, symptoms such as breathlessness, exhaustion, nausea and sweating – either alone or in combination – all can indicate a heart attack.

Long Beach Memorial’s emergency department is a designated Chest Pain and STEMI Receiving Center which is staffed by a highly trained well-coordinated team to assure individuals experiencing a heart attack are rapidly treated.

After the event of a heart attack, the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute assists patients by instilling heart healthy lifestyle changes that can stabilize, slow or even reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease.

As part of the program’s efforts, the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial is hosting its annual heart healthy dinner featuring fresh American cuisine on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. All proceeds will benefit cardiac rehabilitation patients at Long Beach Memorial. The cost is $22 per person. For more information, visit or call (562) 933-9326.

About the MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial:
The MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute (MHVI) at Long Beach Memorial is one of California’s most comprehensive centers for diagnosis, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of cardiovascular disease. MHVI provides advanced, world-class care for complex heart conditions including myocardial infarction, heart failure, arrhythmias and peripheral vascular disease. A leader in robotic-assisted cardiac procedures, MHVI performs the most da Vinci® Si™ Surgical System cases in California. MHVI follows evidence-based approaches for quality and patient safety in a complete continuum of cardiovascular care services. Best practice prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, research and support activities are delivered in state-of-the-art facilities, including dedicated catheterization laboratories and operating rooms specially configured to fulfill the unique requirements of cardiovascular medicine. Visit, like us on Facebook and follow us at Twitter.


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