Dr. Patrick Thomas on the AHA’s New Blood Pressure Guidelines

Dr. Pat Thomas attended the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Anaheim.

Dr. Pat Thomas is a cardiologist at NYPMG Hudson Valley Cardiology in Cortland Manor, New York. He has served patients throughout Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties in New York since 2002. He is also the president of the American Heart Association’s Putnam County Board of Directors in New York. He and his wife, Johanna, are supporters of the Putnam County Heart Walk. Dr. Thomas has also served as chair of that event. We caught up with Dr. Thomas at the AHA’s Scientific Sessions in Anaheim this week. The big news of the week was the new high blood pressure guidelines.

Johanna and Patrick Thomas, MD at the AHA’s Founders Affiliate dinner at Scientific Sessions.

Why did you come to Scientific Sessions?

Number one, getting to network with many thousands of other cardiologists to share our expertise, our clinical experiences and come up with the best way to treat patients. Second, I enjoy getting to see the late-breaking clinical science, the most up to date clinical trials that are being released at Sessions. In today’s wireless world, we can find out a lot of this information in real time even if I’m sitting at home. But here we get to discuss it with the experts who did the trials one-on-one or sometimes in small or large groups. And that’s something you can’t get unless you’re here on site. And it allows for a small group format where we can sit down with 10-20 cardiologists and discuss particular problems, and come up with solutions.

Why do you support the American Heart Association?

I’m involved in the AHA for more reasons than I can count. The most important is simply this, as a practicing cardiologist, I couldn’t do what I do on a daily basis without the support, guidance, and education provided by the American Heart Association. In particular, the journal Circulation, which we consider to be the Bible in cardiology, is published once a week and gives us the latest and greatest in science as well as practice guidelines. In addition, I have a personal reason to be involved in the AHA. Heart disease is rampant in my family at an early age on both sides, both male and female. So, it’s a personal reason, not just professional.

What do you think about the updated blood pressure guidelines announced on Monday?

The big change is a decrease in the blood pressure targets for therapy. The definition of high blood pressure, or hypertension, has changed from 140/90 to 130/80. This is a substantial expansion of the potential number of people who have hypertension in this country.  So now roughly one of every two U.S. adults will have hypertension.

How does this change the way we approach talking about hypertension, diagnosing it, and treating it?

We used to think that medical therapy didn’t need to be given until 140/90, but the more recent clinical studies have shown that treating down to 120/80 yield additional benefits in terms of reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and death, even in patients who have never had a heart attack. The guidelines also focus on managing risk. They harmonize with guidelines for cholesterol. It’s focusing more on global risk for a patient.

Does it mean you go on medication if you have 132/82?

No, it depends on other risk factors, or 10-year estimate risk of developing heart problems of over 10 (as measured by the ASCVD Risk Estimator tool). In those cases, we might recommend starting medicines, but in the lower risk categories, we’ll most likely start with lifestyle recommendations which haven’t changed a lot over the years — and include sodium reduction, exercise, moderating alcohol consumption and increasing fruits, vegetable and fiber in the diet.

For more information on the new guidelines, visit www.heart.org/highbloodpressure.

By |November 16th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Siblings Tackle Heart Disease from Hometowns to the Halls of Science

JoAnn Parker is Tri-County Heart Walk Director in New York’s lower-Hudson Valley. She spends her days organizing events,recruiting volunteers and sponsors, and she helps create community connections which can help save lives.

JoAnn Parker, AHA Heart Walk Director and her brother, Ray Ebert, PhD, National Institutes of Health

Parker leveraged her contacts to help make the case for Tobacco 21 legislation in two counties in her region. Both counties passed laws to change the purchase age to 21 this year.

While she is entrenched in the AHA’s local impact, her brother, Ray F. Ebert, PhD, works at the other end of the spectrum in cardiovascular care at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. He is co-moderating one of the sessions in the Frontiers in Stem Cells symposium, which runs all day on Tuesday, November 14th.  He’s been attending Sessions since 2009 and this year his session is titled, “Clinical Studies of Cell Therapy I.”

We caught up with Ray at Sessions and here’s his take on the AHA’s impact:

“My first grant was an AHA grant-in-aid. It wasn’t big but it helped get me other grants down the road,” he said. AHA grants-in-aid support independent investigators with innovative and advanced projects related to cardiovascular disease and stroke. They are given to investigators early in their career and helps to keep great talent in the research pipeline.

“At Sessions, you get perspective on what’s going in various fields beyond the ones that you’re directly involved with. I get updates in the latest in my field as well, mainly regenerative medicine.”

“JoAnn’s a great fundraiser. AHA is a great facilitator for a lot of different areas and they’re always on top of what the community needs. Right now. the community needs more than just basic science and more than just clinical science. It needs outreach, information, incentives to change lifestyles because at the end of the day a lot of things like obesity and uncontrolled hypertension are at the root causes of a lot of things we’re dealing with. It’s a great service it performs for the community.”

By |November 14th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hundreds Attend Go Red For Women Luncheon in Poughkeepsie

 

It was a sea of red at the Poughkeepsie Grandview on November 9th, as more than 350 Hudson Valley residents gathered for the American Heart Association’s 10th Anniversary Go Red For Women Luncheon. The AHA’s Go Red For Women campaign goal is to empower women with the tools and knowledge they need to fight their number one killer—heart disease. The event raised awareness but also funds for the AHA’s programs and research.

Denise George, President of the Northern Dutchess Hospital and Senior Vice President of Health Quest, served as chair of this 10th Anniversary Go Red For Women Luncheon. She welcomed the crowd, including many former event chairs, and shared Go Red’s life-saving mission.

New York City television medical journalist, Dr. Max Gomez, moderated the keynote health panel discussion with local health experts to help attendees capture ideas and the latest science information to help prevent the number one health threat, cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of women—more than all cancers combined.

The local panel of health experts included cardiologist Sarah Levin, MD, FACC; nutritionist, Roufia Payman, DT, CDN; Certified Grief Therapist, Shelley Tatelbaum, M.S.; and personal trainer, Kelly Mills, CPT. The event included morning mini-breakout sessions from Dr. Padma Garvey, Dr. Jack Tighe from St. Luke’s Hospital, and Naomi Biviano from The Institute for Family Health.

The 12 participants in the BetterU Challenge, sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, were celebrated at the event. The AHA states that more than 80% of coronary events in women may be prevented with simple lifestyle changes, like those encouraged through BetterU. Participants have been blogging about their healthy lifestyle challenge experience at http://blogs.poughkeepsiejournal.com/betteru/.

Past BetterU participant, Tina Vaitkus of Pawling, shared her story of survival from a heart attack this August. She had a family history of heart disease and after feeling chest pain, neck and arm pain, and profuse sweating, she called 9-1-1.

She credits the BetterU program for awareness of symptoms and getting emergency help quickly, and AHA-funded researchers who developed the drug-eluding stent she received to open her blocked artery. Her cardiac rehabilitation has been aided by the fact that she had already an exercise regimen in her life from BetterU.

“Two weeks prior to my heart attack I had these symptoms, but like other women I chalked it up to other things. Women doubt their symptoms. Don’t die of doubt. Call 9-1-1,” she said.

Learn about women’s heart attack symptoms on Go Red For Women

The “PURSEonality,” auction featured sophisticated handbags, wallets, and other exclusive items donated from local women “celebrities.” Each handbag contained items which reflect the personal styles and passions of the donor. Q92.1 Radio’s morning show personalities, Joe Daily and Michelle Taylor served as emcees for the event.

Go Red For Women is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and CVS, and locally by Signature Sponsors, The Heart Center, Vassar Brothers Medical Center, and Northern Dutchess Hospital. Additional sponsors include Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, Gold’s Gym, the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, The Grandview, Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, and media sponsors, the Poughkeepsie Journal, Hudson Valley Magazine, and Q92.
#GoRedHV

 

By |November 10th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Little Red Hats Needed to Raise Awareness for Congenital Heart Defects

The American Heart Association (AHA) is putting out a call to knitting and crocheting enthusiasts to donate knit or crocheted hats for use in the 3rd annual Little Hats, Big Hearts program. Dozens of local hospitals will be partnering with the American Heart Association and The Children’s Heart Foundation to distribute the hats during February/American Heart Month. The program aim is to help raise awareness for congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country.

Congenital heart defects are structural problems with the heart which are present at birth. Defects range in severity from simple problems, such as “holes” between chambers of the heart, to very severe malformations, such as complete absence of one or more chambers or valves.

The AHA is committed to raising awareness for CHD, and helping children live stronger lives through education, research and public policies. The AHA’s Little Hats, Big Hearts began in Chicago in 2014 and has expanded to over 660 hospitals in 40 states.

In the Hudson Valley last year, the AHA distributed over 1,400 cleaned and sanitized little red hats to babies at 11 hospitals to celebrate American Heart Month and raise awareness of congenital heart defects. Every baby born at participating hospitals during February will receive a little red hat; parents and caregivers will receive information about healthy babies and lifestyles.

Local Little Hats, Big Heart program information is online, by state, at www.heart.org/littlehatsbighearts.

Donated hats should be made with yarns that are red, cotton or acrylic, medium to heavy weight, machine washable and dryable. You may use your own pattern or the free simple hat patterns found at www.heart.org/littlehatsbighearts. For safety, no bows and buttons, please. Donated hats will be sterilized and packaged for hospitals. Deadline for donated hats is December 21st. Not a knitter? The American Heart Association will also accept donations of yarn by Dec. 1st to help those who will be knitting or crocheting hats.

Drop off or mail hats by December 21st to: American Heart Association, ATTN: Patti Bennett, 301 Manchester Rd., Suite 105, Poughkee psie, NY 12603. For information or to volunteer to package hats, email patricia.bennett@heart.org or call 845-867-5368.

The AHA’s funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to the federal government. Thanks to AHA advocacy, a law was passed NYS to ensure that every baby born receives pulse-oximetry testing, which can help identify heart defects immediately after birth. The AHA also creates guidelines for, and trains parents, caregivers, and medical professionals in infant and child CPR.

Learn more about congenital heart defects at www.heart.org/CHD. Parents of children with CHD may find support online at the AHA’s Support Network at http://supportnetwork.heart.org/congenital-heart-disease. Learn more about congenital heart defects at www.heart.org/CHD. Find a local class for infant or child CPR at www.heart.org/cpr.

 

By |November 3rd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tickets Available for Go Red For Women Luncheon November 9th

 

Tickets are still available for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Luncheon on Thursday, November 9th at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie. Email Danielle Schuka, Go Red For Women Director, at Danielle.schuka@heart.org for sponsor or volunteer information. Tickets are $125 each and table sponsorships are still available.

Go Red For Women Luncheon tickets may be purchased online at www.dutchessulstergored.heart.org or by calling the American Heart Association at 845-867-5379.

 

One of TV’s most respected medical journalists, Dr. Max Gomez, will moderate the keynote health panel discussion with local health experts. Gomez has produced award-winning health and science segments for network stations in New York and Philadelphia. “Dr. Max” has reported for Dateline, Today Show and 48 Hours. Over more than three decades, he’s earned nine Emmy Awards, three NY State Broadcaster’s Association awards and UPI’s “Best Documentary” award. Dr. Gomez has served on the national board of directors for the American Heart Association.

Dr. Max Gomez

The local panel of health experts includes cardiologist Sarah Levin, MD, FACC; nutritionist, Roufia Payman, DT, CDN; Certified Grief Therapist, Shelley Tatelbaum, M.S.; and personal trainer, Kelly Mills, CPT.

The Go Red For Women event includes educational breakout sessions, a health and wellness expo, and “PURSEonality,” a unique auction featuring sophisticated handbags, wallets, and other exclusive items donated from local women “celebs.” Each handbag contains items which reflect the personal styles and passions of the donor. Other items including Broadway Show tickets, signed memorabilia and more will be featured in the silent auction.

The 12 participants in the BetterU Challenge, sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, will also be celebrated at the event. Participants have been blogging about their healthy lifestyle challenge experience at http://blogs.poughkeepsiejournal.com/betteru/.

BetterU’s message is that more than 80% of coronary events in women may be prevented with simple lifestyle changes. Prevention is h

Denise George

indered by the fact that many women don’t realize that heart disease is the number one killer of women—more than all cancers combined. The Go Red For Women campaign goal is to close this knowledge gap and provide women with tools, resources and inspiration to build a healthier life.

Go Red For Women is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and CVS, and locally by Signature Sponsors, The Heart Center, Vassar Brothers Medical Center, and Northern Dutchess Hospital. Additional sponsors include Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, Gold’s Gym, the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, The Grandview, Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, and media sponsors, the Poughkeepsie Journal, Hudson Valley Magazine, and Q92. Denise George is serving as Luncheon Chair.

By |November 1st, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

American Heart Association Founders Affiliate Social Media Accounts

CONNECT WITH US ON OUR SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITIES!

FDA on Facebook

FDA on Twitter

Regional Blogs

By |November 1st, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Apply for the AHA MHVFCU Lifestyle Change Award

Thanks to a generous sponsorship by Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, the American Heart Association will host the 2017-2018 Go Red For Women Lifestyle Change Award to celebrate individuals who have made significant healthy lifestyle changes. One winner will be selected and the award will be presented at the 2017-2018 Celebration Event. Nominations will be accepted November 1, 2017 – January 25, 2018.

Nominate someone based on their lifestyle choices and changes in the following areas: physical activity, healthier eating habits, weight loss, managing heart disease risk factors, and changing their lifestyle, or helping to change others.

The program’s goal is to remind people of the need to make healthy lifestyle choices to prevent their number one and five killers – heart disease and stroke. The AHA states that more than 80% of heart disease can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes.

Nominations may be submitted by emailing a completed form to Patricia.Bennett@heart.org, or by mail to: American Heart Association, Attention: Patricia Bennett, 301 Manchester Road, Suite 105, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603.

Download Nomination Form

 

By |October 30th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Joseph Surace Named Tri-County Heart Walk Chair

 Joseph T. Surace, Vice President of Operations at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, has been announced as the chair of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Tri-County Heart Walk, set for Sunday May 6, 2018 at Harriman State Park. This annual community event is a key fundraiser for the American Heart Association to help finance programs and research.

For more info visit www.tricountyheartwalk.org 

In his role as VP of Operations, Mr. Surace oversees more than 300 employees, and serves as the liaison between many clinical and operational departments, working to ensure the implementation of major renovations and projects of that nature. Aside from his work at SLCH, Mr. Surace is also a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives as well as the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Supporting the American Heart Association and the Tri-County Heart Walk is something that Mr.Surace has been involved in for several years. He champions the SLCH team year after year, and serves as a terrific example for his colleagues to follow.

“I am proud to serve as Chair of the 2018 Tri-County Heart Walk,” said Surace. “Heart disease is something that impacts each and every one of us, whether it be a mother, father, brother, sister, or child. My family is my why…having lost family members to heart disease, I am closely connected to the fight against heart disease. On behalf of all of us at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, we are proud to support the American Heart Association; an organization that works tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of our loved ones.”

Mr. Surace will rally community leaders in the fight against heart disease to sponsor the event and form teams to walk. The funds raised from the Heart Walk support lifesaving programs and research. The AHA is the largest non-governmental source of cardiovascular research funding in the U.S. In New York alone, the American Heart Association funds $29,917,263 annually through 114 research studies.

Cardiovascular disease, CVD, is the number one killer of all Americans. In fact, someone dies from CVD every 39 seconds. Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women—it kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. Thankfully, more than 80% of heart disease incidents can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating healthier and walking 30 minutes most days of the week. Events like the Heart Walk get people walking as part of the AHA’s year-round Healthy For Good campaign to create a culture of health at home, at work and in the community. Free info and resources are available online at www.heart.org/healthyforgood. The four pillars of a healthy for good lifestyle are “Eat Smart,” “Add Color,” “Move More,” and “Be Well.” By eating healthier, including a colorful selection of fruits and vegetables, exercising 30 minutes daily, and focusing on stress relief, mindfulness and sleep, we can prevent a majority of heart disease in Americans.To get updates about the Heart Walk and for event registration, bookmark www.tricountyheartwalk.org.

By |October 27th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Participants Moving More at the Westchester Heart Walk

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the No. 1 killer of all Americans. Heart disease also kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. But more than 80% of heart disease incidence can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes like moving more.  The American Heart Association’s October 1st Heart Walk event at Kensico Dam got Westchester residents moving more to fight heart disease, and the money raised will fund research, and help save lives. 

The Heart Walk is the AHA’s biggest annual event, raising more than $400,000 for AHA programs and research at last year’s event. This year’s event drew nearly 1,200 participants from more than 70 teams registered online. New “Move More” fitness stations were added to get even more activity at the 5K walk event. Kids and adults, and even some cadets volunteering at the event from Company E1 at West Point, tried the Plank Challenge, potato sack races, balloon tennis and more to get moving more. They ended the 5K with a dance celebration on the Kensico Dam Plaza.

“We know sitting is the new smoking and that inactivity is bad for hearts and blood vessels. We want people to move more to keep their hearts healthy to prevent the number one killer—heart disease,” said Jennifer Miller, AHA Heart Walk Senior Regional Director, “Today was a celebration that heart disease and stroke are survivable.”

Heart Walk Chair, Lori Morton from Regeneron in Tarrytown said that many young researchers receive AHA research grants as their first source of funding.

The Konow family of Ossining is grateful for research, early detection and advanced treatments for CHD. Their baby had lifesaving open heart surgery on the day of last year’s Heart Walk. They shared their story to raise awareness and were honored at this year’s event.

Kailey and Ryan Konow showed up for their 20-week prenatal appointment with the anticipation and excitement of any expectant parents. The doctors confirmed they were having a girl—but that she had a rare congenital heart defect. She was given heart tests immediately after birth last August.

Two months later, she got a simple cold and her oxygen levels dipped dangerously low. Mila Rose was put in a coma so her heart would stop working so hard and had emergency heart surgery on the date of last year’s Heart Walk to open her artery. On January 6th, she had the surgery for her full heart repair, and went home after 15 days, her heart fully repaired.

“We are so grateful for the technology and research that allowed the early detection. We’re so grateful for the doctors who continually focused in on her diagnosis and were always ready for her. She will be closely monitored for her cardiology team for the rest of her life, but her future is bright and our hearts are full,” said Konow.

CHD is the most common heart birth defect but it is survivable—the AHA journal Circulation that estimates about 1 million children and 1.4 million adults in the United States were living with a congenital heart defect (CHD) in 2010. The American Heart Association’s funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to the federal government. Learn more at www.heart.org.

The Heart Walk is sponsored by White Plains Hospital, WMC Health/Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Fujifilm, Dr. Patrick W. Thomas and Mrs. Johanna D. Thomas, New York Presbyterian, Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health, New York Medical College, Stop & Shop, Examiner Media, The Peak, Buzz Creators, News 12 Westchester, and Westchester Magazine.

Donations are still being accepted online at www.westchesterheartwalk.org.

Form a Heart Walk Team to Fight Heart Disease

The American Heart Association’s (AHA) Westchester Heart Walk is coming Sunday, October 1st at Kensico Dam in Valhalla. Registration for individuals and teams is open online at www.westchesterheartwalk.org. Many local companies and residents are forming teams to walk in support of the AHA’s mission to save lives from cardiovascular diseases and stroke. For some teams, walking in the Heart Walk is personal.

Gina Palma of “Team Brave Heart” is walking for her 63-year old father, John Palma, who is on the heart transplant list waiting for a new heart.

“We are walking for him and to raise awareness for this rare disease,” she said, “I would give my own heart to Dad if I could.”

She’s doing the next best thing—walking to prevent heart disease while funding lifesaving research. Her father’s heart failed more than three years ago. He felt out of breath doing routine things and it took 20 minutes to recover. He thought it was asthma or pneumonia but wa eventually diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis—a rare form of heart disease where an abnormal amyloid liver protein deposits itself in the walls of the heart, making them stiff and unable to pump normally. There is no cure, but treatments can manage the symptoms. Ultimately, his heart failed.

“Blood tests showed my kidney functions were getting worse and my breathing was worsening. Heart transplant was mentioned a while ago. I went through a barrage of tests and interviews. Now I am on the list.”

“I was near retirement, then I got hit with this. This wasn’t self-inflicted. A rare disease comes out of nowhere and you have deal with it,” he said.

Though he knows the wait is long and often an emotional rollercoaster, he feels lucky because his diagnosis was swift, his treatments are extending his life, and he has support of good friends and family. He hopes by sharing his story he will help raise awareness and remind people to get annual checkups. And he wants more funding for research.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the No. 1 killer of all Americans. In fact, someone dies from CVD every 39 seconds. The Heart Walk is the AHA’s biggest annual event, raising more than $400,000 for AHA programs and research at last year’s event. Funds raised at the Heart Walk will support research to help prevent and treat heart disease, stroke, and pediatric heart disease. The American Heart Association’s funding for research is second only to the federal government. American Heart Association-funded research has led to the discovery and development of many treatments and procedures that are now widely utilized to help save lives. They include heart bypass surgery, CPR, clot-busting drugs, stents, cardiac catheterization, and heart transplantation. Learn more at www.heart.org.

The Heart Walk is sponsored by White Plains Hospital, WMC Health/Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Fujifilm, Dr. Patrick W. Thomas and Mrs. Johanna D. Thomas, New York Presbyterian, Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health, New York Medical College, Stop & Shop, Examiner Media, The Peak, Buzz Creators, News 12 Westchester, and Westchester Magazine.

Form a team and register online to walk in the Westchester Heart Walk! www.westchesterheartwalk.org 

By |September 12th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments