Call for an appointment: (973) 586-3400
Cardiology Consultants of North Morris
356 US Highway 46
Mountain Lakes, NJ 07046
Tel: (973) 586-3400 * Fax: (973) 586-1916

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cardiac Rehab After Stenting Saves Lives

For those of you who have had a heart stent, there is very interesting news out of the prestigious Mayo Clinic. According to Dr. Randal Thomas, the principle investigator of a new study published in the most recent issue of Circulation, participation in a formal cardiac rehabilitation program following stenting is associated with a significant reduction in all-cause mortality!

Says the Exercise Expert: "There is ample evidence, including from our study, to show that there is much work to do in prevention and improving outcomes. Second, it's important for patients and providers to recognize that not only is rehabilitation important and provides significant benefit, it's also covered by insurance companies."

That's right! Since 2006, in the majority of cases, insurance companies will pay for up to 36 sessions of cardiac rehab for any patient who has undergone any type of coronary intervention. The benefits of cardiac rehab go beyond the thrice weekly treadmill requirement. There is also the peer support that develops between patients who attend regularly, supervision by caring and knowledgeable rehab professionals, weight loss, and of course, a feeling of normalcy and reassurance that after a stent you can perform as well, if not better, than one could before the stent was placed.

Most hospitals and many independent facilities offer these services and accept a host of insurances.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Which State is the Healthiest? Where Does Jersey Stand?

All this talk about Disney's lack of healthy food options made me curious about which states are actually the healthiest overall.

It turns out that there is extensive data cultivated by the United Health Foundation on how states fare in a variety of outcome measures including smoking, obesity, cardiovascular deaths, etc etc

Well, we love a good rank list so we picked the most interesting points to share with you and then you're on your own to peruse the entire report on their website at America's Health Ranking.

First, let's look at the 2010 national numbers and then we'll go local.

Besides bucolic scenery, bed and breakfasts, old liberal arts colleges, and Yankee-hating, the New England states also excel at many of the important health measures. All six New England states, with Vermont leading the way, were in the Top 10 in overall health outcomes, in part because of their low rates of smoking and obesity, as well as a large number of doctors per capita, and strong emphasis on public health.

The southern states, while also excelling at Yankee-hating (of a different sort) unfortunately did not fare so well as they comprised 8 of the bottom 10. And Mississippi has the dubious honor of finishing at rock bottom for the 9th consecutive year because of its disproportionately high rates of cardiovascular deaths, obesity, prevalence of smoking and lack of insurance coverage - add to that a relatively low density of physicians per capita, plus child poverty and it's a perfect storm for bad health. To be fair, most of the poorly performing states did show significant improvement from 2009.

So how does the Garden State compare in all these measures? In 2010, we were ranked 17th overall, up 1 place from 2009. North Dakota is a little better and Wisconsin is a little worse. According to America's Health Rankings, our strengths are lower rates of obesity and impoverished children as well as higher rates of high school graduation and  ready availability of primary care MDs.

When you look a little deeper though it's scary that our percentage of obesity (23.9%), almost one-quarter of the population, is comparatively low - Mississippi's rate is 35.3%. Other Jersey high notes include improvements in our air quality and decreasing rates of children in poverty and violent crime.

While we write about things with a sense of humor,  healthy eating and obesity is an enormous problem in this country (pun intended) - and it's not getting any smaller. Look at the graphic above depicting percentage of obese US citizens over the past 20 years. Scary. Along with obesity comes increasing rates of diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other health issues is that's not enough. Education and proper eating habits are the groundwork for a healthier generation of children.

Stay tuned for our next post about peripheral artery disease and if you have suggestions for other topics please feel free to post them in the comments section. Stay healthy!

America's Health Rankings® employs a unique methodology, developed and periodically reviewed by a panel of leading public health scholars, which balances the contributions of various factors, such as smoking, obesity, binge drinking, high school graduation rates, children in poverty, access to care and incidence of preventable disease, to a state's health. The report is based on data from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Commerce, Education and Labor; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;the American Medical Association;the Dartmouth Atlas Project; the Trust for America's Health;the World Health Organization; and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).