ROCK THE RED:

Health care professionals at Western Arizona Regional Medical Center promote Rock The Red and send a message about the importance of heart care.

BULLHEAD CITY — Western Arizona Regional Medical Center has been highlighting Heart Month.

Staff has presented informational events about heart health in February. 

On Tuesday at WARMC is the Rocking the Red Heart Health Fair. 

From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. will be the free blood pressure checks, free blood tests to determine one’s fasting glucose and lipids, and a variety of heart health information displays. Staff will be taking people’s blood pressure and a pharmacist will be on hand to help attendees review their medications. People getting blood tests will need to fast beforehand. There will be a complimentary breakfast included.

From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., there will be a free heart-health event requiring anyone planning on attending to RSVP at WARMC.com/classes. Scheduled for this hour will be an introduction to the cath lab and hands-only CPR training. 

People attending either event are highly encouraged to wear red in support of heart disease awareness. Doctors and staff at the hospital have been wearing the color at times as well this month.

Health care professionals at Thursday’s general medical staff meeting took a moment to pose for a picture to promote Rock The Red and the importance of heart care. 

Cardiology Interventionist Dr. Malik Rahim, of Western Arizona Interventional Cardiology, talked about congestive heart failure to the people at the meeting. 

He made a less technical version of the presentation to WARMC’s Senior Circle earlier in the month. This is a portion of the earlier presentation.

Rahim explained that congestive heart failure happens when blood backs up — or congests — into the liver, abdomen or lungs.

“This typically happens when the heart muscle is damaged, weakened, stiffened and/or enlarged,” Rahim noted. 

One may notice swelling of their legs or ankles, or even the whole body — if the condition is left untreated.

Risk factors for congestive heart failure include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, damaged heart muscle, history of heart attack, faulty heart valves, congenital heart defects, poor diet and lack of exercise.

Symptoms are swelling, sudden weight gain, fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing and palpitations.

People diagnosed with this condition can prevent flare-ups by keeping to a low-sodium, low-fat diet; losing weight; staying physically active; reducing or eliminating alcohol and caffeine; and quitting smoking.

The idea is to control the person’s blood pressure, reduce the strain extra weight can put on one’s heart and lower one’s stress.   

Rahim also noted that consumption of alcohol and caffeine can weaken a heart that’s already damaged while smoking can damage blood vessels and make the heart beat faster.

Moderate physical activity can help the heart grow stronger. Short walks are a good start. Finding an activity you enjoy will make it easier to do regularly.

He also warned that too much physical activity can be a bad thing and that it’s important to follow the doctor’s guidelines. Watch for shortness of breath, cough, chest discomfort, pain, dizziness, fast heartbeat and extreme weakness. If any of these symptoms occur, stop and rest.

Rahim emphasized that if the symptoms don’t go away after some rest, call your doctor or go to the emergency room.

Something to remember in the Tri-state: Try to avoid activities in extreme hot or cold temperatures.

Rahim also talked about the importance of following directions for using prescribed medications and the purpose of commonly described types of pills for congestive heart failure patients.

 

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