November 2013 Edition - Health Matters

Cardiac Program Keeps Hearts Healthy and Strong By Jean L. Amodea

NCH is ranked number one in Florida for Over- all Cardiac Services in 2013 by independent hospital rating organization HealthGrades, Inc., as well as recipient from the same organization of the Cardiac Care Excellence Award for 9 years in a Row (2005- 2013). Evidencing its superior rank, NCH goes a step further and provides those with cardiac issues or who have undergone cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation at NCH hospitals with quality aftercare via their Cardiac Maintenance Program. Originally developed in 1991, the well-organized program was designed to help members strengthen, maintain and increase overall fitness and strength levels. Offered at the Whitaker Wellness Center, the program is coordinated by certified fitness trainer Anthony Grech who has been a staff member for al- most eight years. “Our goal is to help members make a smooth transition from cardiac rehabilitation to a program and lifestyle habit that they can feel comfortable maintaining for life,” said Grech. “We evaluate each member to assess abilities and weakness and then develop an individualized healthy heart and strength training program. While Grech describes the program as “open” and one that members will eventually be able to complete on their own, members are monitored carefully and remain under his watchful eye from the minute they sign in to the time they leave the center. Blood pressure readings are taken before and after each session, and pulse and oxygen levels are moni-

tored before, during and after each workout, he said. “I provide detailed explanations of equipment such as the cardio machines that include treadmills and Airdyne bikes, and I demonstrate each exercise, explain why it is performed and describe the expected result,” explained Grech. “Each member is monitored carefully until I see they are comfortable and able to properly execute each movement on their own.” When necessary, Grech also communicates with the member’s cardiologist or physician assistants to

Cardiac Maintenance Program includes strength- ening the heart muscle, which will improve the member’s overall quality of life. Referrals to the program may be made by the cardiologist or rehabilitation therapist or by word of mouth.The program is conductedMonday,Wednes- day and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and there is no additional fee for Wellness Center members to at- tend the program.

For more information about the NCH Cardiac

Maintenance Program, contact the Whitaker Wellness Center at (239) 596-9200.

more accurately assess the member’s particular abilities or constraints to develop a sound program to ensure optimal results. One of the primary benefits of participation in the

Growing Pains – Myth or Reality?

bone growth or muscles and tendons that become strained and then tighten, as in jumper’s knee, caused by repetitive stress most often suffered by boys and girls who play basketball. Maturing teens that grow too fast are prone to hunching over to meet the height of peers. Postural and core instability results in lower back pain caused by increased pressure of the pelvis due to tightened muscles, ex- plained Hardt. “Even a simple activity such as climbing stairs or run- ning can be precursors to these ail- ments.”

Whether active with a full sports schedule or sedentary, take note when your tweens or teens suddenly start to complain of pains in their legs, knees or lower back or when leg cramps wake them during sleep. Though once dismissed as mere growing pains, your children have valid

concerns that can be suc- cessfully treated in a variety of ways. Eighteen-year-veteran Physical Therapist Beth Hardt sheds light on the sometimes mysterious ail- ments that plague develop- ing youngsters.

To remedy the issues, therapeu- tic taping or a brace is used to help align kneecaps, especially when a sports modification program is in- dicated. Low extremity exercises are used to promote muscle group symme- try; while a prescriptive core exer- cise program is developed for use in therapy sessions as well as for follow-up at home. “Play it safe and don’t wait. If your child is complaining about

“Whether due to growth spurts, muscle imbalances, postural instability or poor postural habits, youngsters from age seven to 16 are most susceptible to expe- riencing a variety of pains,” said Hardt. “Through a comprehen- sive evaluation that considers their daily activity level, we can look at the reasons for their pain.” Patella-femoral issues involve knee pain frommuscles that don’t keep up with

these types of issues, consult your pediatrician or physician for a referral, and we will do a comprehensive evaluation. Sometimes simple exercises can remedy the situation,” said Hardt.

For more information, call the NCH Outpatient Rehabilitation Pediatric Physical Therapy Department at (239) 596-0834.

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