Heart (Cardiology & Vascular)
Heart and Vascular Disease Prevention and Wellness
Heart disease is the nation's number-one killer, but Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care is committed to ending its deadly grip on America. As such, the hospital offers a full range of services aimed at improving its patients' heart health through assessment strategies and comprehensive programs of behavior modification. These programs range from improving quality of life by reducing risk factors in heart disease patients to preventive care for protecting the hearts of healthy patients.
Managing Risk Factors for Heart Disease
No two patients are alike, and that means no two treatment plans should be the same. Montefiore Medical Center's team of skilled cardiologists tailors a treatment plan for each patient's specific needs.
While it is true that heart disease is hereditary, each patient faces different preventable risk factors that contribute to the likelihood of developing heart disease. These risk factors include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels
For many patients, weight loss through a heart-healthy diet and increased exercise can help reduce blood pressure, stabilize cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar levels. When weight loss is not enough, all of these conditions can be treated with medication.
Kicking the smoking habit is critical to heart health, but actually quitting cigarettes is a difficult process that takes time, commitment and a little help. A Heart and Vascular Center cardiologist may refer you to our community outreach program, Be Smart – Quit Smoking. This six-week program will give you the tools you need to move beyond cravings and reach your larger, heart-healthy goals.
Even patients who do not already have heart disease need to take steps to prevent it from affecting them in the future. Those who have seen the disease affect members of their family might want to seek a cardiologist's advice on how they can reduce their risk.
In helping their patients, cardiologists take a complete medical history, screen for cholesterol and diabetes, and get a baseline picture of the heart through an echocardiogram, a noninvasive ultrasound. Cardiologists may also do a stress echocardiogram, a test that takes pictures of the heart during exercise.
Getting a clearer picture of your heart's current state can help your cardiologist come up with a plan of action for maintaining or improving your heart health.
Patients who already have heart disease can reduce their risk factors. For example, a patient with a stent can halt the progression of heart disease by working with his or her cardiologist to quit smoking and lose weight. After any treatment for a heart condition, it is important to maintain contact and keep appointments with a physician to make sure the treatment is working and your heart health is improving.