TRR photo by David Hulse

Nadine Greco, director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Wayne Memorial Hospital, right, is pictured with program client Kathy Schloesser. 

Cardiac rehab lengthening lives

HONESDALE, PA — More people in the Wayne County area who have suffered traumatic heart issues are living longer because of the efforts of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

Taking advantage of the intervention of Valentine’s Day, Wayne County annually recognizes the program during National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, which is February 11 to 17.

Physical therapist and program director Nadine Greco also referenced the preceding day’s snowfall at the February 8 commissioners’ meeting, saying that snow shoveling among members of an increasingly sedentary population is a seasonal producer of cardiac problems.

Program client Ed Ritzler confirmed that, noting his heart attack came following an episode of snow shoveling last April. The program “has changed my life. I’m better; not as good as before, but better,” he said.

Another problem involves getting more physicians to prescribe cardiac rehab after an event. “Patients sometimes tell me, ‘I had to bring it up with my doctor,’” Greco said. The situation with physicians’ recommendations is improving, and “we also get a lot of people by ‘word-of-mouth,’” she added. 

“A lot of people just don’t like to exercise, even after developing heart trouble. You have to change or you’re setting yourself up for another event,” she said. People with type 2 diabetes also have a greater risk of developing heart disease.

Greco said the difference between improved heart health and rolling the dice can amount to something as simple as 30 minutes of walking each day. Combine that with weight loss and dietary changes. Rehab clients who complete the 36-session program and stick to the lifestyle changes have a better chance of extending their survival by five years or more. “Sitting is the new smoking,” she said.

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and Wayne County ranks sixth in the state in the number of deaths from coronary heart disease.

In other business last week, the commissioners received the annual hazardous materials emergency response preparedness report, noting eight county facilities handling some 54 hazardous chemicals. They filed for payment of $37,528 remaining on a state grant providing new paving at the Hamlin Senior Citizens’ Center, and new appointments approvals included former Upper Delaware Council secretary Cindy Odell, who was named to Clerk 1 position in the prothonotary’s office, beginning February 26.


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