Contact: Shelly Mikkelson
“Heart disease remains a major concern in our country. From 2001 to 2011, the death rate from heart disease has fallen about 39 percent, but the burden and risk factors remain alarmingly high. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women,” explains Tammy Thompson, MS, RCEP, Cardiac Rehab Manager/Exercise Physiologist at Crossing Rivers Health in Prairie du Chien. “According to the American Heart Association about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack every year. About 2,150 people die each day from heart disease in the United States—that’s one every 40 seconds. Yes, these statistics are alarming, but there is good news—heart disease is preventable and controllable.”
In recognition of February-American Heart Month, heart disease will be the focus of a free community education program sponsored by Crossing Rivers Health Cardiac Rehab on Thursday evening, February 26. The evening will begin with a free light heart-healthy meal at 5:00 p.m. prepared by Crossing Rivers Health Nutrition Services staff followed by three 15-20 minute presentations with helpful information to improve heart health. There will also be a time for discussion and questions. The program’s featured speakers are Crossing Rivers Health’s healthcare professionals Tammy Thompson, Patrick Stovey and Shelby Byrnes.
Tammy Thompson has been a member of the healthcare team at Crossing Rivers Health for over 10 years and has 16 years of experience practicing as an Exercise Physiologist and has worked with all ages, children to 92 years old with a wide range of health risk and functional limitation. She serves as the Manager of Cardiac Rehab. She stated, “I know the importance of exercise in maintaining and improving health and overall quality of life. It is well proven that regular exercise is beneficial in protecting you from heart disease and stroke by preventing and controlling factors for your risk. Exercise also improves your mood and makes you feel good about yourself.”
Patrick Stovey is a Certified Exercise Specialist with the Crossing Rivers Health Cardiac Rehab program, and he has helped many area individuals return to a normal life after a heart event. He states, “Helping patients return to their hobbies or work is important in the recovery process and increases the patients’ confidence in returning to these activities without fear of something happening again.” Patrick will be sharing tips on exercise myths and ways to implement exercise into everyone’s lifestyle.
Shelby Byrnes is the Registered Dietitian for Crossing Rivers Health and primary care clinics in Prairie du Chien and Fennimore. She provides nutrition education and counseling to a variety of populations and ages through inpatient, outpatient sessions and community outreach. Her expertise includes helping those with diabetes and weight management. She specializes in both prevention and management of illnesses and diseases. She will share tips on nutrition as well as recipes. She said, “A healthy diet, as a part of a healthy lifestyle, is essential to reducing our risk of heart disease. We all know that what we choose to eat affects our weight, but it is surprising how many other ways our nourishment affects our bodies! The nutrition part of the Heart Smart event will focus on how the foods we eat can raise or lower our risk for heart disease.”
Reservations are encouraged to help hospital staff plan for the meal. Individuals planning to attend are asked to call Tammy Thompson at 608-357-2349.