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Published on February 22, 2007

KCH Heartwise Program can Detect Artery Plaque and Save Lives

Febuary 22, 2007

Lynne Dirienzo, RN, Craig Pohlman and Arlene Van Patten share Craig’s story of success after participating in the Heartwise Program at KCH.

Lynne Dirienzo, RN, Craig
Pohlman and Arlene Van Patten
share Craig’s story of success
after participating in the
Heartwise Program at KCH.

Early detection of plaque in arteries may prevent heart disease, heart attack, and even death. Craig Pohlman of Sycamore believes that his participation in the HeartWise Program at Kishwaukee Community Hospital helped to save his life. “I was awakened when I saw the pictures of my arteries and I learned about the consequences that continuing my unhealthy behaviors would hold,” Craig said. As part of the HeartWise Program, he was given a Coronary Calcium CT Scan which produces images that detect and quantify calcium deposits in the coronary arteries. The more calcium that is detected, the higher the chance of developing heart disease and possibly suffering a heart attack. “My participation in the HeartWise Program completely changed my life. I learned to eat smaller, more controlled portions of healthier foods and I exercise for an hour every morning. The program opened my eyes and directed me towards a better way to live” Craig said. “My significant other Arlene and I enjoy spending time walking together. We have learned together the importance of eating healthy and exercising, we are a team.” As a result of his major lifestyle changes, Craig has lost over 30 pounds, and along with medication, his cholesterol has dropped 188 points in just a few months. Craig’s physician, Dr. Thomas Kurian, is very pleased with his progress.

“Craig takes his health seriously and he understands that he had to make changes. Medicines have certainly played a role, but the bigger role was played by his lifestyle changes,” said Dr. Kurian.

The Heartwise Program is an easy, non-invasive way to detect the presence of plaque in arteries before symptoms develop and serious consequences result. The program can detect high cholesterol, plaque in the arteries, high blood pressure, and possibly diabetes. Lynne Dirienzo, RN, explains, “We will show you the results from the tests, and empower you with the knowledge and support to make the necessary changes in your life. The participants need to develop willpower to take what they have learned and follow through with the changes.” Following the testing, participants will meet with a wellness nurse to check blood pressure, pulse, BMI and body fat, and receive a risk assessment report that summarizes the findings of the lipid profile and Coronary Calcium Score. A copy of the results will be provided to the participant that can be passed onto their personal physician. “Many people young and old can take advantage of what KCH and its staff of doctors, nurses, nutritionists, technologists, and therapists can do to help maintain good health. It is teamwork. We are all committed to continually improving the health of those we serve,” Dr. Kurian said. KCH offers many classes, seminars, and a fitness program that help maintain heart-healthy lifestyles. 

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