The 56-page book, authored by cardiologists and other health care providers, addresses common questions that the hospital's Heart Center personnel often hear from their patients. The goal of the book is to increase heart health education and improve cardiac and vascular health within the community.
"I'm not sure anything has been done before like this," said one of the book's authors, cardiologist James Goolsby, adding that the book will be provided free of charge to patients and to the public at health events throughout the county. "It's our gift to the community."
Goolsby co-authored the book along with cardiologists Jude Gabaldon, Faraz Sandhu, L.B. "Dusty" Weathers and Charles Wilkins, and registered nurse Barbara Charles, physician assistant Jennifer Tso, and nurse practitioners Jennifer Manganello and Jonathan Palmer.
The doctors and practitioners' ultimate goal is to educate the public about the dangers of heart disease, which is the No. 1 killer in the United States, causing twice as many deaths as all types of cancer, combined.
The book uses easy-to-understand language that patients can understand, and covers topics such as "What is the relationship between salt and hypertension?," "How can I tell if I need a pacemaker?" and "How can Native Americans avoid heart problems?"
"In the past, we've only taught about the diseases, but haven't focused on prevention," said Goolsby. "The future of fighting cardiac and vascular disease really will be prevention."
Cardiologist Christopher Wyndham feels the book will serve as a useful tool when talking to his patients about cardiac matters.
"Cardiac issues are beyond the scope of most patients, and to translate them into a vernacular patients can understand is fantastic," he said.
The hospital's Heart Center hopes to use the book as a springboard to open up discussion in the community about healthy habits, such as not smoking, maintaining an ideal body weight, eating five fruits or vegetables a day, and exercising at least 30 minutes a day four times a week. Those four habits have been shown to reduce heart disease by as much as 90%, Goolsby said.
The group plans to reach out to young people, and may distribute the books at local public schools, as most people only have a discussion with doctors about cardiac health once a significant health event such as a heart attack occurs.
"Our challenge is to have an impact before the event happens," said Goolsby. "The sooner we can have an impact, the better."
Free copies of the book will be available at the hospital's "A Fair of the Heart" Health Fair, which takes place today from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the hospital's Heart Center building, located at 407 South Schwartz Ave., across the street from the main hospital building. The book's authors will be present to answer questions about cardiac issues.
A special fair attraction will be located in the parking lot. The "MEGA Heart XL" exhibit, which is the world's only inflatable, walk-through heart exhibit, as seen on the Dr. Oz show, will provide visitors the chance to explore the chambers of the giant heart and learn about cardiovascular functions and various forms of heart disease and treatments.
"This is a great opportunity for people of all ages to get an idea of how the heart works," said Roberta Rogers, the hospital's marketing manager. "The fair is something fun families can do on a Saturday."
Inside the building visitors will find free heart-healthy snacks, free medical tests such as electrocardiograms, blood pressure screenings, body mass index and heart rate calculations, and the American Heart Association will provide information about heart disease risk factors and how to control them.
Physicians and practitioners will be available to provide free information and advice, and information on the center's cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation program will be available.
Additional attractions at the fair include Wii Fitness stations to encourage people to get active, a nutrition and diabetes education booth, and demonstrations of nuclear cardiology and cardiac catheterization.
Free community cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defribillator training sessions will be offered. Visitors will have a chance to win one of six gift baskets which will be given away throughout the day. The fifth annual Goosebump 5K and one-mile fun run begins at 11 a.m.
All "A Fair of the Heart" activities are free to the public.
Leigh Irvin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 564-4610. Follow her on Twitter @irvindailytimes.