How To Protect An At-Risk Heart

Source: Courier-Post Online
Pat Bottino, 64, of Newfield, knew his mother and father both had heart disease, but never really worried about how it may affect him – especially when he was younger. But now he is living with heart disease, he has hardening of the arteries, and tries to face his challenges with a positive attitude and a healthier lifestyle.
“The more I learned about my condition and the more I spoke with my doctor, I was not as fearful and concerned,” says Bottino, co-owner of ShopRite stores. “I have to limit myself and I exercise more, but I feel great and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Bottino says his exercise routine is more regimented, and he eats healthier meals, but his lifestyle changes make him feel better and healthier in general.
“The most exercise I get is when I’m with my three grandchildren,” laughs Bottino, who has a 10-year-old granddaughter and twin 8-year-old grandchildren, a boy and a girl. “And my wife, Fran, is always making me healthy dinners. She is a good influence for me.”
Bottino, who has been married for 44 years and has three children, says his wife does her own exercises and encourages him to park a distance from stores and walk a bit more instead of getting the front spots.
Stress also is something Bottino has learned how to handle better.
“My job, like everyone else’s, is extremely stressful, but I try to leave my work at work,” he says. “When I do get stressed I talk about it with my wife or adult children. I don’t keep it in. You can take medication for the problems, but have to find a way to relieve stress.”
Bottino’s cardiologist, Kris Rainear, has been practicing in Vineland for 20 years and with Penn Cardiology in Vineland for four years. He believes lifestyle changes are key to reducing risks associated with heat disease.
“Heart disease has a broad-spectrum from mild blockages in the coronary arteries or thickening of the walls of the heart to heart valve dysfunction and heart failure,” he says. “When patients are diagnosed with heart disease, it is very important to change their lifestyle to become healthier and therefore reduce progression or reverse the heart disease.”
Rainear says trying to achieve an optimal weight and getting regular exercise also decrease cardiovascular risk.
“Cardiac patients have to understand that these recommendations are not for only short-term use but are lifelong,” he says. “Patients should check their blood pressure, know their cholesterol levels and follow-up with their physicians regularly.”
Joshua Crasner, a cardiologist at Kennedy Hospital for 22 years, says some of his patients with heart disease worry about premature death, and missing their family’s birthdays, celebrations and holidays.
“The most important thing people with heart disease can do is learn from their experience and condition and try to be careful,” says Crasner. “Taking control of your life is powerful. I spend a lot of time with my patients, counseling them and giving them materials they need to learn this. We encourage people to take control and then they gain confidence.”
Another challenge those with heart disease face is being realistic with their health, says Crasner.
With regard to exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes, Crasner says don’t set unattainable goals.
“The heart and body are the finest machine ever made,” says Crasner. “It’s like a car, if you put in the proper fuel, baby it, and don’t make it go over its limits, it should function properly for a long time.”

How To Protect An At-Risk Heart - Part 2
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