Every heart attack survivor’s story is unique, but they all have one thing in common. They survived.
Ronnie C. Rose, a retired truck driver, has spent the last few years on the road to recovery.
Rose said he just was not taking care of himself over the years and began to feel tired and have no energy.
“I went to see the doctor and they sent me to a cardiologist,” Rose said. “I ended up having stents. Then when I had hip surgery and went off blood thinners, the stress from surgery caused me to have a heart attack.”
Luckily for Rose, he was already at the hospital, in recovery from his hip surgery, when he had his heart attack.
“If you or someone you love has had a heart attack, you know what a difficult experience this is, but you are not alone,” Madison Medical Center Cardiac Rehab Program Director Randy Wadlow said. “In fact, according to the American Heart Association, more than 800,000 people have a heart attack every year, and nearly half of all U.S. adults have some type of cardiovascular disease.”
According to the AHA, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.
“Heart attacks occur when your heart muscle cannot get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly,” Wadlow said. “Everyone is different, and heart attacks are caused by multiple risk factors. Some of these risk factors you have little control over such as age and genetics but many factors you can control.”
Wadlow said factors that can be managed include lifestyle: diet, exercise, smoking and drinking; medical conditions: high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.
Rose has been married to his wife Lacresha for 32 years and has five children. He said once he started doing his cardiac rehabilitation at Madison Medical Center, he realized how out of shape he really was.
“I have learned to keep myself active,” Rose said. “I have learned to check my pulse and blood pressure to make sure it is in good range.”
Rose said he has seen what cardiac care has done for him and what it can do for others.
“Go to your doctor and be honest about how you feel,” Rose said. “If therapy is needed, Madison Cardiac Care is the best. Randy is very caring and wants to see you succeed. He is dedicated to his job and patients.”
Rose said the camaraderie among the staff and patients at Madison Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehab keeps the atmosphere easy going. He said Wadlow took the time to work with him and helped by explaining each step they took.
“The heart is a muscle and, like any other muscle, it needs physical activity or exercise to help it work properly,” Wadlow said. “When you’re active, your lungs do a better job of getting oxygen into your blood so it can be pumped to all the tissues and cells of your body.”
Wadlow said being active can reduce your risk of developing some heart and circulatory diseases by as much as 35 percent. It can also help control blood pressure, raise levels of good cholesterol, reduce levels of bad cholesterol, control blood glucose levels, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
“Not only does regular activity protect your heart, it can also help your general well-being by boosting your mood, improving your concentration and memory and help you sleep better,” Wadlow said. “The American Heart Association recommends healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week.”
Wadlow said it is also important to schedule annual exams.
“These exams help your doctor keep track of your health history, ensure you are up to date on screenings and often detect potentially serious health issues before they become major problems,” Wadlow said. “It is important to follow your healthcare professionals advice.”
Wadlow also recommended trying to keep your stress level in check and, if you smoke, quit today.
Madison Medical Center offers two cardiologists, Dr. Mark Friedman, M.D. and Dr. Bryan Piotrowski, M.D., through its Outpatient Clinic.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org