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Date Published: Friday, April 1, 2022
Date Updated: Friday, June 30, 2023

WMCHealth Debuts Heart Disease Prevention Program

The Cardiovascular Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Program prioritizes prevention, education and wellness.

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VALHALLA, NY (April 1, 2022) – The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) debuted this week a new cardiovascular program that aims to stop preventable coronary death and disease in its tracks.

Located at Westchester Medical Center and MidHudson Regional Hospital, the Cardiovascular Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Program (CHPDP), prioritizes prevention, education and wellness while using best-practice methodologies to assess and manage the myriad of factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease such as genetics, environment, stress, and access to healthy food options.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and according to the American Heart Association, about 80% of cardiovascular disease is preventable.

"For so long, the specialty of cardiology has focused on treating patients after they have a problem, rather than trying to get to them before things become an issue," said Joshua Melcer, MD, a cardiologist with WMCHealth' s Heart and Vascular Institute and the CHPDP's clinical lead. "When treating individuals who are at risk of developing heart disease, you want to be aggressive and proactive. This is extremely important for disadvantaged populations where cardiovascular diseases often develop earlier in life, which places additional stress on these communities as well as the entire health system. Ours is a program that wants to care for these and all patients, so we can diagnose and treat them before the onset of disease."

A Proactive Plan for Heart Health

Here is how the CHPDP program works: Patients entering the program undergo a full intake survey as well as a comprehensive physical examination.  The examination includes screenings for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and blood sugar levels, factors that increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and other cardiovascular conditions. The program's multi-disciplinary staff includes cardiologists, endocrinologists, nurse practitioners and dietitians who place special emphasis on the latest guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

Depending on the results of the initial evaluation, a program participant may also participate in echocardiograms, stress tests and coronary calcium scoring, which is a screening for asymptomatic coronary artery disease. And because exercise is vital for cardiovascular health, a cardiologist or nurse practitioner helps patients develop a personalized plan to get moving.

"The program calls for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week," said Melcer. Patients also connect to a clinical dietitian who aligns their eating habits with their health goals.

"Heart disease is a complex matter, based on genetics, environment and personal choices, and optimal heart health is the result of a lifelong plan and commitment," Melcer said. "Our goal is not to be just a one-time, ‘Hey, you're doing great, and hopefully we won't need to see you for some real heart problems down the road' type of program.We want to maintain a relationship with each participant, encourage a healthy lifestyle, monitor that healthy lifestyle and be aggressive in managing any changes that come about."

The CHPDP program is designed for any individual, regardless of their ability to pay, with a concern about their cardiovascular health. Melcer encourages those with a family history of heart disease, or individuals seeking to monitor their heart health, to call 914.909.6922 or visit https://wmchealthnetwork.tfaforms.net/337 to request a convenient appointment. The program also welcomes physician referrals.Additional CHPDP program information can be found at WMCHealthaps.com/Heart.

About Westchester Medical Center Health Network

The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with 10 hospitals on eight campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 12,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. The Network has Level 1, Level 2 and Pediatric Trauma Centers, the region's only acute care children's hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, homecare services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State. Today, WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated healthcare in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit WMCHealth.org or follow WMCHealth at Facebook.com/WMCHealth or Instagram.com/WMCHealth.