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Montefiore Puts Its Heart Into February's Heart Month Activities

Patients, Community and Associates Learn How to Live Heart Healthy

NEW YORK (January 31, 2013) – The Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care is increasing its efforts to reduce heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, with a robust calendar of events in recognition of February’s American Heart Month. Montefiore Medical Center’s month-long program will educate patients, the community and its associates about heart disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

“Most people don’t realize that heart disease kills more people each year than all forms of cancer and HIV combined. Prevention is everyone’s best friend when it comes to this fight,” said Mario Garcia, M.D., chief, Division of Cardiology at Montefiore, and co-director of The Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care. “Being heart healthy – eating right, exercising regularly and working with your doctor on a plan that’s right for you – can improve one’s quality of life and longevity.”

Heart disease can stem from a variety of conditions including abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), heart failure and coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attack. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people each year and carrying a cost of more than $108 billion annually.

Major risk factors for heart disease – high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and smoking – can be controlled or managed. It is important for everyone to see a doctor for regular checkups and to discuss how to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve overall health.

“About 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year – that’s one in every four deaths,” said Robert Michler, M.D., professor and chairman, Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at Montefiore, and co-director of The Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care. “Montefiore is a leader in providing innovative therapies and clinical best practices for adult and pediatric heart disease patients. We are passionate about Heart Month and helping people learn how important it is to lower their risk of heart disease.”

Montefiore’s Heart Month program offers events from healthy eating demonstrations, Zumba classes and educational talks to heart health screenings. Patients, the community and Montefiore associates are invited to participate in all Heart Month events free of charge. Following is a sampling of events and a full schedule is available at www.montefiore.org/heartmonth.

  • Tenth Annual National Wear Red Day (Feb. 1) – Montefiore and the American Heart Association (AHA) ask everyone to wear red and call attention to the fact that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. Montefiore associates will gather at 10 am in the lobby of The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) in red dresses, shirts, ties, jackets, hats and more for a group photo to commemorate a decade of raising awareness of heart disease.
  • Healthy Eating for Kids Food Demonstration (Feb. 4) – Coming up with healthy snack options that kids want to eat can be difficult. Join Montefiore dieticians to learn about creative and healthy snacks that will make kids and parents happy. The interactive session will allow kids to make their own snack from 12:30 pm to 2 pm in the CHAM lobby.
  • Cardiac Wellness Program Saturday Seminar (Feb. 9) – Heart patients have been shown to greatly benefit from a heart-healthy, plant-based diet. Join cardiologist Robert Ostfeld, M.D., MSc., and nutritionist Lauren Graf, M.S., R.D., for a four-hour seminar to learn about this diet and its benefits, taste food samples and learn how to make them yourself. Also meet patients who have adopted the diet through the program and learn from their success. To register for the session, which begins at 10:15 am in the Tishman Learning Center, contact 718-920-5197.
  • CPR Training Class (Feb. 18) – Knowing how to give CPR can save a life. Montefiore offers a free class from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm at CHAM, where participants will learn everything they need to know. To register, contact The Family Learning Place at 718-741-2357.

Social media also plays a role in Montefiore’s education efforts for Heart Month. Follow @MontefioreNYC for information about educational Twitter chats, Montefiore events and general heart health facts and tips. Additional information also will be available on Montefiore’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

“Being heart healthy doesn’t end on February 28,” Dr. Michler said. “Let’s use Heart Month to establish good habits that are maintained throughout the year and beyond.”