Staff aim to highlight heart disease risks

Month's campaign ... medical staff, from left, Simon Bond, Barbara Black, Rak Bhalla and Joanne Crawford.
Month's campaign ... medical staff, from left, Simon Bond, Barbara Black, Rak Bhalla and Joanne Crawford.

TAKE good care of your heart!

South Tyneside medical staff are backing a charity’s month-long campaign to help lower heart disease rates.

Experts at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust are supporting the British Heart Foundation’s national heart month, which runs throughout February.

While early death rates from heart disease have fallen in the borough during the last decade, they are still worse than the national average.

Community cardiology specialist nurse, Joanne Crawford, based at South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields, said: “There are lots of things you can do to keep your heart healthy, whatever your age, including taking exercise, eating a healthy diet and being aware of dangers, such as smoking, drinking, high blood pressure and stress.”

Cardiovascular disease is an ella term for all conditions of the heart and circulation, including coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, heart failure and congenital heart disease.

Staff are reviewing the care patumbrhways for CHD, heart failure and cardiac rehabilitation.

Already, a one-stop heart function clinic at the Harton Lane hospital is helping the patients. More than 200 people have visited the clinic since it started in 2010, and about 80 of them were identified as having a form of heart disease.

GPs in South Tyneside, who see patients with symptoms of potential heart failure, such as breathlessness, tiredness and ankle swelling, are advised to do a test to identify if there is raised enzyme in the blood.

If the test is positive then patients are seen at the clinic within six weeks, where they are assessed by Dr Rak Bhalla.

They receive their results on the same day and, in conjunction with the hospital’s consultant cardiologist Dr Abdul Nasser, Dr Bhalla makes any relevant referrals.

Patients can then see Miss Crawford to discuss their treatment.

She added: “Smoking is one of the major risk factors for CHD, and smokers have nearly twice the risk of having a heart attack compared with people who have never smoked. Giving up smoking is the single most important thing you can do to improve your heart health.

“People who are physically active are less likely to get cardiovascular disease as those that are inactive. A healthy diet helps to reduce your risk of developing heart disease by helping to control cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and also keep you within a healthy weight and body shape.”

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