Items filtered by date: May 2019

Study Brings New Insight into Cardiovascular Risk

Published in NJ Heart and Lung News

Body weight, systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar all impact cardiovascular health. We know that. And if a person brings these measures into a healthy range, their risk of cardiovascular disease decreases. That’s simple.

But what if they bring the measures into a healthy range, then “fall off the wagon,” and go back to abnormal measurements? The risk goes up again. Still simple. But what if they repeat this cycle? Over and over again. Is their risk lower? After all, they did spend some time at healthy levels. Is it the same as if they had never done anything? Or is it, in fact, worse?

Researchers at the Catholic University of Korea, along with various other institutions, have assessed the link between cardiovascular health and fluctuations in health measurements including body weight, systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. The goal of the research was to answer that question.

To do so, they used data collected from nearly 7 million people with no history of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or cardiovascular events at the beginning of the study. Then for 7 years, from 2005 to 2012, the participants went through a series of checkups.

The answer, published in the journal Circulation : large fluctuations in any of the measurements mentioned above was directly associated with an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

In other words, if a person continually brought their cholesterol under control, had it go well out of control, then continued this “yo-yo” pattern, they had greater risk of heart attack or stroke than if they had always had high cholesterol.

If an individual had large fluctuations in more than one of the measurements, the risk was greatly increased.

People with the highest variability across all risk factors had a 127% higher risk of death from all causes, a 43% higher risk of heart attack, and a 41% higher risk of stroke.

The new research fits findings on what is commonly referred to as the “yo-yo effect” in dieting. People who constantly lose and regain weight end up at far greater risk for cardiovascular disease than individuals who simply remain overweight.

Regency Jewish Heritage has partnered with the area's leading cardiologists and pulmonologists to form The NJ Heart and Lung Center™

Our program:

  • Reduces hospital readmissions and patient length of stay
  • Maximizes ability for patient to regain ADL skills and independence
  • Offers 24/7/365 physician coverage through on-site staff and advanced telemedicine program
  • Has an on-site sleep study program to unlock Medicare benefit for Bipap utilization upon discharge
  • Offers STAT availability of Labs, X-Ray and other diagnostic tools

Our outcomes and capabilities include:

  • Cardiologist and pulmonologist on site daily for immediate intervention
  • Specialized rehab & nursing protocols developed in partnership with leading cardiologists & pulmonologists
  • A plan proven to prevent readmission to the hospital and improve patient independence and functionality
  • Regular Communication Between Patient, Family, Staff & Physicians
  • Collaborative care planning with other physician & therapy specialists
  • Advanced staff education & training
  • Transitional care nurse & enhanced discharge-to-home process
  • Follow-up home visit within 24-48 hours
  • Educational material provided to patients & families

We offer the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here.

 

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Is Cardiac Rehabilitation for Me?

Published in NJ Heart and Lung News

Cardiac rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary program that helps people with heart disease reduce their risk of a life-threatening event.

You may benefit from cardiac rehab if you have a heart condition, such as:

  • a heart attack
  • angina
  • congestive heart failure
  • coronary artery disease (CAD)

or if you have had a heart procedure, such as:

  • angioplasty
  • a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)
  • insertion of one or more stents
  • percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)

What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab combines a variety of therapies and interventions designed to help you improve your overall health and recover from a serious heart condition. In order to do that, you will work with a team of physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, nutritionists, dietitians, and counselors. This interdisciplinary team will teach and encourage you to make the changes you need to live a healthy life.

Exercise is an important component of cardiac rehab. Because your heart is already weakened, your exercise program must be carefully designed and monitored by trained, experienced therapists. In cardiac rehab, you will work with therapists who will ensure that you begin and build on a safe exercise program to strengthen your heart.

Lifestyle changes are often essential for recovering from heart disease. If you smoke, you will receive counseling and support to help you quit. If you eat in an unhealthy way, you will learn how to make healthier food choices that are still enjoyable.

Stress is a major risk factor in heart disease. Cardiac rehab offers you sensitive help in identifying — and learning to manage — the stress in your life so that it does not impact your health.

Is cardiac rehab covered by insurance?

Medicare and private insurance cover most of the conditions and procedures listed above. Coverage does vary, however. Be sure to check with your insurer to see if you are eligible.

At the NJ Heart and Lung Center™ of Regency Jewish Heritage, you will have an individualized plan, proven to prevent readmission to the hospital, and to improve your independence.  

Regency Jewish has partnered with the area's leading cardiologists and pulmonologists to create a program that:   

  • Reduces hospital readmissions and patient length of stay
  • Maximizes ability for patient to regain ADL skills and independence
  • Offers 24/7/365 physician coverage through on-site staff and advanced telemedicine program
  • Has an on-site sleep study program to unlock Medicare benefit for Bipap utilization upon discharge
  • Offers STAT availability of Labs, X-Ray and other diagnostic tools

Our Outcomes & Capabilities include: 

  • Cardiologist and pulmonologist on site daily for immediate intervention
  • Specialized rehab & nursing protocols developed in partnership with leading cardiologists & pulmonologists
  • A plan proven to prevent readmission to the hospital and improve patient independence and functionality
  • Regular Communication Between Patient, Family, Staff & Physicians
  • Collaborative care planning with other physician & therapy specialists
  • Advanced staff education & training
  • Transitional care nurse & enhanced discharge-to-home process
  • Follow-up home visit within 24-48 hours
  • Educational material provided to patients & families

Regency prides itself on offering the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.   Contact us by clicking here.

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Potassium and the Heart

Published in NJ Heart and Lung News

Among the many blood factors a cardiologist monitors in their patients is potassium. Either a low or high level of potassium is dangerous for the heart. But what is potassium, and why is it so important?  Potassium is the third-most common mineral in the body. It helps regulate the body’s fluid balance, the contraction of its muscles, and the transmission of nerve signals.  

About 98% of the potassium in our body is found inside our cells. Muscle cells contain 80% of this potassium, and the other 20% is in bone, liver and red blood cells.  In addition to helping other muscles move, nerves to work, and the kidneys to filter blood, potassium triggers the heart to beat. The body needs a proper balance of potassium to help muscles — particularly heart muscles — work properly.  Blood potassium levels should be between about 3.5 and 5 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). When levels are persistently higher, the resulting condition is called hyperkalemia.

Mild hyperkalemia typically causes no symptoms, but very high potassium levels can cause muscle weakness or dangerous heart rhythm.  In hypokalemia, the level of potassium in blood is too low. Hypokalemia is not an illness in itself, but is usually a symptom of an underlying illness or a side effect of a medication. A low potassium level usually results from vomiting, diarrhea, adrenal gland disorders, or use of diuretics. Low potassium can make muscles feel weak, cramp, twitch, or even become paralyzed, and can also cause abnormal heart rhythms.   

Although a slightly low potassium level may not be dangerous, any low potassium level requires medical attention. Potassium levels can be low without being so low that the heart stops contracting. Sometimes the low levels cause the heart to pump blood ineffectively in a condition known as heart failure. Blood clots that form or flow and get stuck in the coronary arteries could block the blood supply and cause a heart attack.   

If potassium levels drop below 2.5 mmol per liter, however, hypokalemia can be life-threatening.  When people have mild hypokalemia, they will usually experience no symptoms. If their hypokalemia is moderate or severe, they will often feel unwell and may experience other symptoms. This is especially true if the individual is elderly, or has heart or kidney problems.

The National Organization for Rare Disorders lists the following symptoms for hypokalemia: 
1. Muscle weakness, sometimes severe enough to cause paralysis 
2. Respiratory failure 
3. Low blood pressure 
4. Muscle cramping or twitching 
5. Extreme thirst 
6. Frequent need to urinate 
7. Loss of appetite 
8. Nausea 
9. Heart problems, in particular arrhythmia 

Nevertheless, people should be aware that it is uncommon to experience any of these symptoms even if their hypokalemia is severe. A study published in the European Journal of Emergency Medicine analyzed data from nearly 5000 individuals who were taken to the emergency room of a nearby hospital and diagnosed with hypokalemia, and discovered that only 0.5 percent of these individuals had any of the symptoms listed above. Further, only 1% of these individuals had severe hypokalemia, demonstrating that low potassium levels can cause an individual to feel unwell, even when their hypokalemia is not technically termed severe. 

According to a 2018 study, the main causes for potassium loss are:
1. Persistent diarrhea 
2. Prolonged vomiting 
3. Kidney disease 
4. A side effect of diuretics 
5. A side effect of other medications 

Generally, people diagnosed with hypokalemia are treated with potassium supplements, usually in the form of tablets. If an individual's hypokalemia is life-threatening, intravenous supplementation is often required.  The prognosis for an individual with hypokalemia depends on the underlying illness or side effect that caused the loss of potassium. In many cases supplementation with potassium will solve the problem. In other cases, medicines that may be causing the problem will have to be changed, or have their dosage lowered. However, if the individual is suffering from both heart and kidney disease, achieving a proper balance of potassium can be quite complicated.   

The most important way to assure proper potassium levels, especially in the presence of other medical conditions, is to put yourself in the care of the best cardiologists, like those at the NJ Heart and Lung Center™ of Regency Jewish Heritage.

Regency Jewish has partnered with the area's leading cardiologists and pulmonologists to create a program that:   

  • Reduces hospital readmissions and patient length of stay 
  • Maximizes ability for patient to regain ADL skills and independence 
  • Offers 24/7/365 physician coverage through on-site staff and advanced telemedicine program 
  • Has an on-site sleep study program to unlock Medicare benefit for Bipap utilization upon discharge 
  • Offers STAT availability of Labs, X-Ray and other diagnostic tools 

Our Outcomes & Capabilities include: 

  • Cardiologist and pulmonologist on site daily for immediate intervention 
  • Specialized rehab & nursing protocols developed in partnership with leading cardiologists & pulmonologists 
  • A plan proven to prevent readmission to the hospital and improve patient independence and functionality 
  • Regular Communication Between Patient, Family, Staff & Physicians 
  • Collaborative care planning with other physician & therapy specialists 
  • Advanced staff education & training 
  • Transitional care nurse & enhanced discharge-to-home process 
  • Follow-up home visit within 24-48 hours 
  • Educational material provided to patients & families 

We offer the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.   

Contact us by clicking here.

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Are you interested in The NJ Heart and Lung Center for yourself or someone you love? A member of our team will be happy to answer your questions and schedule an on-site tour. Of course, you can also call us anytime.

The NJ Heart and Lung Center at Regency Jewish Heritage
380 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873
(732) 873-2000
Click Here

The NJ Heart and Lung Center at Regency Gardens
296 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ 07470
(973) 790-5800
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