Philip Health Services program will help identify those at risk for heart disease

A new program at Philip Health Services will help target heart disease, a leading cause of death for South Dakotans.

Using a combination of blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol screenings, a software program, and a physician’s knowledge, this program will help identify those at high risk for heart disease, Bob Fugate, PT-ATC, of Philip Health Services said. The screenings will be available August 1st and will be offered as part of the annual health fairs or through a physician referral.

“We hope to locate those at high risk and help them work on a program to reduce that risk and monitor their success,” Hospital Administrator David Dick said.

The software that will be used for the screenings was purchased with funds from the Preventative Health and Human Services Block Grant. Five rural hospitals shared the $22,085 grant, and Philip Health Services received $4,745. Each hospital is doing different projects with their money, from bike trail improvements to promoting the use of pedometers.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in South Dakota,” Colleen Winter, administrator of the Office of Health Promotion, said. “These grants will help rural hospitals share that message with their communities.”

The software that Philip Health Services purchased takes participants through a series of questions relating to their activity level, height/weight, percentage of body fat, past medical history and others. The information is compiled – along with the blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol screenings – into a report from the American College of Sports Medicine. The participants will then visit with their physician about the results. Some of those at the highest risk may be recommended for a cardiac rehabilitation program.

Cardiac Rehab Program

A two-phase cardiac rehab program at Philip Health Services is scheduled to open the end of August. The first phase, Phase 2, will take those who have had a heart procedure, such as bypass surgery, through 2 to 36 sessions. During these sessions, the patient’s heart is monitored as to how it reacts to exercise. This phase will also serve as an education program where participants are taught about how to reduce their risk factors.

“This will help them understand what’s gone on and how to prevent it in the future,” Fugate said.

Phase 3 will focus on a continued healthy lifestyle: “The transition to Phase 3 will be a general wellness program. Here they can continue with what was learned in Phase 2,” he continued.

Who’s at risk

Bob Fugate said there are seven main factors which increase the likelihood of heart disease. Age, family history, current cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and physical inactivity.

For men over 45 years of age and women over the age of 55 (or those entering menopause prematurely) the risk of heart disease increases. This, along with family history, is not a factor an individual can reduce, but the others can be changed by modifying behaviors. Fugate said exercising three to six times a week for 30 to 60 minutes is an important way to do this.

“People should be advised that they should consult their physician before they start any sort of exercise program,” he said.

Fugate added that the best way to help prevent heart disease is to quit smoking. Weight control and watching what one eats are also important risk reducers.

Positive Risk Factors for Heart Disease

1. Age

•Men: 45 years old or older

•Women: 55 years old or older or premature menopause without estrogen replacement therapy

2. Family History

3. Current Cigarette Smoking

4. Hypertension

•High blood pressure

5. Hypercholesterolemia

•Cholesterol level over 200 mg/dL

6. Diabetes

7. Sedentary lifestyle

•Physical inactivity