Healthwatch: Cardiac Support Group

With cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death in the United States, understanding heart disease and how it can be managed is crucial.

A Cardiac Support Group meets once a month at Rush Hospital to address that and other health concerns. The group is made up of heart patients, their family and friends.

"Unfortunately, we can't cure heart disease. We manage it, though," said Dr. Jennifer Rodriguez, interventional cardiologist at Rush Hospital. "And we think that if patients better understand why they're taking the medications that they're taking, that they'll be more involved in their own care and a little more compliant with their medications and understand exactly why their doctors keep prescribing all these pills that we think will help them live longer happier lives."

Rodriguez spoke this month about the basics of heart disease and why taking the medication is important.

"The goal is to educate patients about risk factors for heart disease, how to control those risk factors. And then of course, for the patients who have heart disease, what to do about it," said Rodriguez, "how to minimize the effect of that disease. And hopefully by understanding the lifestyle changes that they can make and the importance of their medications, they can prevent future heart attacks, strokes, or other processes such as heart failure, that could affect them form here on out."

Rodriguez says patients can and should be involved in taking charge of their own health care.

The Cardiac Support Group meets the second Thursday of the month at
6 p.m. at Rush Hospital's private dining room.

"It's an outreach for them; it's a way to be able to relieve their stress, to have someone to talk to, whereas they may not have that in their home life," said Kellie Stafford, Rush Cardiac Floor Unit coordinator.

To find out more about the Cardiac Support Group, call Rush Hospital at 601-703-1396.

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