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February is American Heart Month

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MACOMB, Ill. – First starting with a proclamation by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, this year marks the 56th consecutive year recognizing February as American Heart Month.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease remains the single largest health threat to Americans. Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke combined) accounts for 2,300 fatalities a day in the United States. 

The AHA notes that:

  • heart disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined
  • 83 percent believe that heart attacks can be prevented but aren’t motivated to do anything
  • 73% of Americans don’t consider themselves at risk for heart disease
  • 58% put no effort into improving their heart health

Heart disease is preventable in most cases with healthy choices, including: not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol, treating high blood pressure, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, and getting regular check-ups. 

On a local level, MDH has always provided services for cardiac and vascular conditions. Last fall the organization took that commitment to another level.

In an effort to improve cardiac services to patients in the surrounding area, MDH partnered with Blessing Health System to provide expanded physician access while staying close to home. The Blessing staff of Drs. Steven KrauseIrving Schwartz, and Eliot Nissenbaum see patients at MDH three days a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, respectively). 

The MDH Cardiopulmonary staff of supervisor Jill Foster, Nurse Practitioner Peggy Jones, and Tracie Anderson, RN, work with the staff from Blessing Health. They also provide accurate diagnostic and therapeutic services to patients with disorders of the cardiac, pulmonary, and vascular systems.

NATIONAL WEAR RED DAY: This Friday (Feb. 7), the AHA celebrates National Wear Red Day. People wear red to raise awareness and support for heart disease among women. For more information on the initiative, log onto 

YOUR HEART. YOUR HEALTH. CLOSE TO HOME.: As part of February being American Heart Month, MDH will offer a Heart Health program on Tuesday, February 25, free to the public. The Your Heart. Your Health. Close To Home. event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Spoon River College Community Outreach Center, 2500 East Jackson Street in Macomb. A free heart-healthy dinner will be provided for those who RSVP to the program (by February 21).

Featured speakers for the program are: Blessing Cardiologists Dr. Steven Krause and Dr. Jeffrey Cook, MDH Cardiopulmonary’s Peggy Jones, NP-C, and staff from the MDH Cardiac Rehabilitation department.

Blessing Health System is proud to provide west-central Illinois with convenient access to advanced heart care, and its team of specialists treat a wide range of heart and vascular conditions, including: arrhythmia, heart attack and strokes, heart failure, heart disease, and heart valve disease. 

Drs. Cook and Krause will highlight a new procedure performed at Blessing Health System - Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive procedure in which the doctor positions a new heart valve via a catheter.

Dr. Krause will also detail a new procedure performed inside MDH, a Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE). This diagnostic test consists of a doctor inserting a tube into the mouth and esophagus and uses an ultrasound to get a more detailed view of heart valves and chambers. 

FITNESS PROGRAMS AVAILABLE: MDH Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation offers various fitness programs for people of all ages.

SilverSneakers, one of the nation’s leading fitness programs exclusively for seniors, help qualified seniors get fit using appropriate weight training, flexibility, and stress relief techniques with guidance from MDH staff.

Prime & Fit, part of SilverSneakers, offers a fitness program for those 65 and under. 

Commit to Get Fit is a newer program in which Staff from Cardiac Rehabilitation and the Diabetes Education Center, along with Exercise Science Interns from Western Illinois University, developed the wellness program with the intent to increase the overall well-being and knowledge of exercise for participants with one or more challenging health conditions.

Sessions are offered two times per week where each participant receives their own personalized workout plan as they learn more about exercise health benefits and strategies related to their specific health condition(s) and personal goals. The class is open to all ages and fitness levels, with exercise physiologists modifying the workouts to each individual’s needs. Individuals can sign up for only $39 per month. Sessions are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-2 p.m. in the Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Department on the third floor of MDH. 

MDH partnered with American Specialty Health Fitness, Inc., a subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated, to become a Silver&Fit and Active&Fit participating fitness center.

Silver&Fit is designed specifically to help older adults achieve better health through regular exercise and health education. The program provides eligible members with no-cost or low-cost fitness memberships through arrangements with certain health plans.

Targeting individuals ages 64 and younger, Active&Fit commercial members may obtain a no-cost or low-cost membership through their insurance health plan coverage. Members would have access to cardiovascular equipment, available resistance and strength training equipment, as well as any standard classes or amenities.

For additional information on the fitness programs or inquire on signing up, call MDH Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation at (309) 836-1601.