By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.
The American Heart Association (AHA) Louisville Chapter’s Circle of Red Society is a dynamic, committed and passionate group of women who have the influence and resources to significantly impact the fight against heart disease. Members are asked to donate a minimum annual gift of $1,500. In addition, new this year is also something special for the men. It’s called the Red Tie Society. For the specifics on the Circle of Red Society contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 502.371.6023.
Lots of people may not know but before I started publishing my health magazines, Kentuckiana HealthFitness and Kentuckiana Healthy Woman Magazine in 1997 and 2005, as a registered dietitian my area of expertise was in Sports and Cardiovascular Disease. I had been tasked over the years with developing heart smart programs for Navy SEALs, the Department of Defense, the Center for Health Promotion at Baptist Hospital in Nashville and Jewish Hospital Health Care.
But my interest in heart disease stems from the fact that my mother died when she was 38 years old of a stroke. I was only 10 years old. My mom’s death has been the driving force behind my interest in health particularly nutrition and fitness over the years. But, my interest in heart disease has become even more personal because my middle son, Geoff, is a Cardiologist specializing in Interventional Cardiology in Indianapolis, IN. In fact, the AHA has provided him and his fellowship program with the funds to research new and innovative treatments for heart disease.
Who would have ever thought that today’s physicians could actually open arteries without drastic surgical techniques using a thin flexible catheter, retrieve blood clots through retrieval systems to prevent the damaging effects of a stroke (or even death like what happened to my mom) and fixing a hole in the heart through the atrial septal defect closure procedure. In the atrial septal defect closure procedure the cardiologist inserts a small, thin, flexible tube (catheter) into the blood vessel in the groin and guides it to the heart using X-ray imaging. Once the catheter is in the heart, the cardiologist passes a device made of metal and a special fabric called a septal occluder into the atrial septal defect. The device then opens to cover the hole and at the same time secures itself in place permanently. Risks are much lower than in open heart surgery. (See the column about David Redmon’s experience with his recent atrial septal defect closure procedure performed locally by Thomas Tu, M.D. David Redmon Celebrates Life After Innovative Life-Saving Procedure).
In the old days ( I am dating myself), heart patients would be admitted to coronary care unit (CCU) and not be allowed to even get out of bed to walk to the bathroom. We’ve come a long way baby! But it’s money raised by the AHA that helps sponsors research to develop these new less invasive techniques to deal with heart disease and stroke.
Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N, is a registered dietitian who has been teaching healthy lifestyles strategies to consumers for over 35+ years.