Guard your heart when shoveling snow

Tips to make shoveling a winter event, not a cardiac event

Shoveling image

When the snow starts piling up, many who pick up their shovels and head for their driveways and walkways are putting themselves at risk for an adverse cardiac event. These include heart attacks, where a blockage cuts off the heart’s blood supply leading to tissue damage, and cardiac arrest, when the heart beats irregularly and then stops. But for those at risk, there are ways to guard your heart when shoveling show.

Who’s at risk?

Men are more at risk than women, but certain people with health problems have higher risk than others for a cardiac event. These include anyone who:

  • is in poor physical condition
  • has a history of heart disease, including heart attacks, heart failure and stroke
  • has hypertension or diabetes

The greatest risk is with people who are still recovering from a heart attack, or who are being treated for heart failure. People in these groups should avoid snow shoveling entirely. Continue reading

Heart patients ask: Is it safe for me to exercise?

heart patients and exrcise blog

It’s that time of year when many of us consider a renewed commitment to exercise and getting in shape. But if you have a heart condition, the decision to exercise might not be a matter of resolution. Instead, like many of my patients, you might be asking yourself: Is it safe for me to exercise?

Your ability to exercise depends on your diagnosis and should always be discussed with your healthcare provider. A patient with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, for example, typically has some restrictions on competitive exercise, though most habitual exercise-type activities would still be encouraged. Continue reading

Cardiac rehab program exceeds expectations

Patient Bob Stephens: "They really cared about my well being"

Bob Stephens

“I can’t give the program a high enough rating,” says patient Bob Stephens of the U-M Preventive Cardiology Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Domino’s Farms.

Bob Stephens thought he knew what he was in for when he began the Preventive Cardiology Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Domino’s Farms, part of the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center. After all, he was no stranger to rehab, having suffered a heart attack years before the stroke he endured in 2012. But the 69-year-old grandfather of five found a completely different kind of rehab facility when he became involved with the U-M program.

“It was a wonderful experience,” he says, noting that his prior rehab facility didn’t come close to the University of Michigan’s program. “The staff at U-M really cared about me — about my well-being. The equipment was taken care of and I was monitored all the time when using it. I can’t give the program a high enough rating,” Bob says.

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Lifestyle changes for heart attack survivor lead to better health

Matt Barribeau talks about his cardiac rehabilitation

Matt-Barribeau-golfingHeart attack survivor Matt Barribeau believed he was in fairly good physical condition when he received a health club membership from his wife, Sherry, for his 48th birthday. Little did he know the first day of his new workout routine would result in a life-altering experience: He suffered a serious heart attack on the drive home with Sherry.

Today, two years later, Matt believes it’s a miracle he is alive considering the severity of his heart attack and his initial grim prognosis. He acknowledges the work of exceptional cardiologists at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, who he says were operating on him within 10 minutes of his arrival at the hospital. He was diagnosed with 100 percent blockage toward the top of his left anterior descending coronary artery, requiring the insertion of a stent, followed later by intra-aortic balloon pump and swan ganz catheter procedures.

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