Wholehearted Health - Beaufort Memorial Hospital

Wholehearted Health


BEAUFORT, SC - Want to live longer? Get heart smart.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. To reduce your odds of falling victim to the cardiac killer, Beaufort Memorial Hospital is presenting “Wholehearted Health: Tips for Your Ticker,” a seminar offering sensible steps you can take to keep your heart healthy.

The free program will begin at 4:30 p.m. May 15 with a wine and cheese reception in the Lakehouse at Sun City, followed at 5 p.m. with a discussion led by board-certified BMH cardiologists Drs. Stuart Smalheiser and M. Shannon Shook.

To start things off, the physicians will talk about risk factors, the disease process and options for treatment. Following the presentation, the audience will have the opportunity to ask the cardiologists questions.

“Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease,” said Smalheiser of Beaufort Memorial Lowcountry Medical Group. “Your chances of developing the disease increase if you have diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or if you have a close family member who had heart disease at an early age.”

You’re also at greater risk if you’re a man older than age 45 or a woman older than 55. While you can’t do anything about your age or family history, there are interventions you can make to help improve your chances of staying healthy. Eating a nutritious diet, exercising, controlling the stress in your life and managing your blood pressure and weight can help you avoid heart problems in the future.

Last November, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released new cardiovascular prevention guidelines, advising doctors to consider a patient’s overall health in deciding whether they would benefit from cholesterol-lowering statin medication.

Doctors have long prescribed statins based on a cholesterol number, particularly the level of “bad” LDL cholesterol. Now, they’re assessing factors such as age, gender, race, family history and whether a patient smokes, has diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

“We’ve moved from a number-based approach to a clinical risk profile,” Smalheiser said. “If a patient has had a heart attack in the past, we’re likely to recommend a high dose of cholesterol medication regardless of their cholesterol level.”

It’s believed about a third of adults in the U.S. could benefit from statins. That includes nearly all patients who have already had a cardiovascular event or stroke.

Lowering cholesterol levels is important because the buildup of cholesterol, called plaque, on the inner walls of your arteries reduces the flow of blood to your heart. Most heart attacks happen when a blood clot suddenly cuts off the heart’s blood supply.

“About 25 percent of people who have heart attacks don’t have symptoms,” Smalheiser said. “Another 25 percent of them present with atypical symptoms. As you get older, you’re more likely to be asymptomatic or have symptoms not generally associated with heart attacks.”

Last year, Beaufort Memorial received state approval to perform emergency cardiac interventions on patients suffering with the most dangerous type of heart attacks—an ST elevation myocardial infarction or STEMI.

“We’ve had more cases than we expected,” said Smalheiser, one of three interventional cardiologists trained to perform the emergency procedure. “Fortunately, the program has worked very well.”

The “Wholehearted Health” seminar is free and open to the public, (both Sun City residents and non-residents) but seating is limited and registration is required. To register, call 522-5585.


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