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February was American Heart Month
Dr. Mike Hagley MD

February was American Heart Month, and Hutchinson Regional Medical Center joined healthcare organizations nationwide in observance of this annual event. 

Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for more than 17.6 million deaths per year. In the United States, someone suffers a heart attack every 40 seconds. Approximately, 650,000 Americans die each year from heart disease which is equal to one in every four deaths, and more than 4,000 Americans are on a waiting list to receive a heart transplant. 

Although some Americans blame family history and heredity as the main cause for heart disease, for many the blame can be traced to an unhealthy lifestyle including poor eating habits and a lack of exercise.  For many Americans an exercise program of no more than a couple hours a week may produce results exceeding anyone’s expectations. Some opt to take medications to avoid an unhealthy heart but studies show that medication without changing lifestyle achieves little. 

Dr. Frank Booth, an exercise physiologist at the University of Missouri, coined the phrase “Sedentary Death Syndrome.” Dr. Booth’s clever use of words sums up the nation’s growing epidemic of a lack of physical activity and its relationship to chronic and preventable disease and, in particular, those dealing with the heart. 

Inactivity may lead to obesity, an issue that has skyrocketed during the past 35 years. Nearly three-fourths of Americans are overweight. Today, America holds the unwanted distinction as the world’s most obese nation. On the other hand, exercise combined with weight reduction may significantly reduce premature mortality. In some cases, weight reduction can cure sleep apnea, reduce the onset of type II diabetes, and improve depressive disorders. Conditions associated with inactivity include an increased risk of mortality through strokes, diabetes, neurological disorders, depression, arthritis and heart disease. Some forms of cancer can be tied to obesity.

The late exercise guru Jack LaLanne summed up the problem that many older people experience. “Many people sit around all day long and don’t get exercise. Their muscles deteriorate, they lose their strength, their energy, vitality by inactivity,” LaLanne said. 

The best exercise program is one that you will continue to do. Exercise may be as simple as playing a round of golf, bowling, gardening, basketball or biking. Other options are strength training and flexibility. Adults will benefit from 150 minutes of weekly exercise; 75 minutes should be vigorous activity. 

During the past year, approximately 2,000 persons, including patients from the far western regions of the state, entrusted their heart health to the Heart & Vascular Center at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center. Our staff witnesses the devastating effects of heart disease; however, we spend every day helping patients detect, manage, and treat heart disease. We offer stress tests and heart catheterization to aid in identifying heart disease.  

The American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) accredited Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation unit helps heart attack survivors thrive and reduce the risk of recurrent visits to the hospital. Our cardiovascular catheterization lab and surgery unit have state-of-art equipment and highly trained staff to ensure the best possible outcome for our patients. From minimally invasive drug-eluting stents and orbital athrectomy to surgical interventions such as coronary bypass and valve replacements, our care encompasses all of your cardiac needs. We also utilize the Impella device, a small heart pump that helps support the patient during high risk coronary stenting, when the heart is too weak to do the work itself. We have extensive experience treating peripheral arterial disease and performing limb salvage procedures to avoid amputation. The Heart & Vascular Center continually strives for excellence in cardiovascular care for our own and surrounding communities.

The greatest gift we can give ourselves is the gift of good health and it is never to soon or to late to start an exercise program. So, let’s all start today and one year from now when we observe American Heart Month, we will live a more enjoyable and healthy life. The results may exceed our greatest expectations. 

Dr. Mike Hagley, MD., is the interventional cardiologist and medical director of the Cardiac Rehab Lab at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center. For more information, visit