SPOKAN, Washington – February is the month of the American heart, and one Pastor Spokane is a living testimony of hope after heart disease.
Rick Hafner is a patient at St. Luke Providence Rehabilitation Medical Center after four heart bypass surgeries.
In fact, he was an avid runner before he started having heart problems, and it was during the run that he realized that something was wrong with his heart.
Huffner was over 50 when a serious incident sent him to the hospital to do four shunt surgeries.
It turned out he had coronary heart disease – meaning his liver was producing too much cholesterol.
Hafner says heart disease occurs in his family on both sides, but he didn’t think it would happen to him until it happened.
After surgery, he became an outpatient at Providence St. Luke’s in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department, but only just started going to rehab regularly.
Now 67, he is 30 pounds lighter and says he has never felt better.
“I’ve been feeling better for the last four months since I committed to following this program in St. Luke’s, and they helped me do it,” Hafner said. “They taught me the importance of sticking to it. Even if you take small steps, be consistent, and this is a long-term perspective that benefits us. ”
Doctors helped Haffner slowly return to running – something he feared to do after detours and heart arrests.
He now goes to a rehab center for exercise, heart health education and mental health support three times a week while performing the same procedures at home three times a week.
Haffner’s physiologist, Laura Wambold, says she is proud of his success.
She strongly recommends regular exercise for both those being treated and for the prevention of heart disease in general.
“It is important to find time for ourselves and the health of our heart, so whether it is a preventive party or we are recovering from something, it is important to exercise regularly,” said Wambold. “Exercise is like a cornerstone of cardiac rehabilitation, so we are big fans of regular exercise and good nutrition.”
According to Wambold, a heart-healthy diet is similar to a standard healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Low fat diets are bad and you can’t properly absorb many nutrients without it.
Drink plenty of water and avoid foods that are processed and high in salt and sugar.
For more information on St. Luke’s Providence Rehabilitation Medical Center and Cardiology Department, look at the official website.
Providence also shares information about Cardiovascular health on his blog.
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