Health & Hope Spring 2018

Health & Hope is a newsletter designed to educate and inspire Western Montanans on life-saving procedures, community events and services to keep you and your family healthy.

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Registered dietitian Heidi Moretti, cardiologist Brad Berry, MD, and others conduct research to improve quality of life for people with heart failure. S ince it was founded in 1995, the International Heart Institute (IHI) at Providence St. Patrick Hospital has focused not only on performing advanced cardiac proce- dures, but also on conducting clinical research with the University of Montana (UM). The purpose of all clinical trials is the same: to determine whether a new approach is more effective than current ones in the prevention, early detection or treatment of disease. Most recently, cardiologist Brad Berry, MD, along with registered dietitian Heidi Moretti and pharmacist Vincent Colucci, worked to explore the connec- tion between vitamin D and congestive heart failure, or CHF. "Congestive heart failure is a very common disease, and we're always looking for anything that will help patients live better and live longer," Dr. Berry says. Although there has been a lot of research about how to reduce CHF symptoms and improve the quality of people's lives, IHI saw a gap in research related to vitamin D and CHF. Vitamin D deciency is associated with poor outcomes in people with cardiac disease, especially vascular disease. So, the multidisciplinary team at IHI, with funding from the International Heart Institute Foundation, ran its own clinical trial that has since been published and presented at national conferences. "We wanted to see what the impact would be to elevate the patients' vitamin D over a period of six months, looking at quality of life as well as other markers," Dr. Berry says. "It had a signicant outcome at the end of six months in terms of marked improvement in quality of life and improvement in other chemical markers for heart failure." Tim Descamps, executive director of the foundation, says, "Our clinical research is helping to shape the future of cardiovascular care at IHI. We are fortunate to partner with experts at UM in advancing care for the people of Montana." Heartbeat of Clinical Research Health care teams explore the connection between vitamin D deciency and heart failure 3 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women. And while great strides have been made in the treatment of heart disease, the best thing we can do is prevent it. Steve Dodge, MD, a cardiolo- gist at the International Heart Institute at Providence St. Patrick Hospital, says there are three important things to prevent heart disease: 1. "The rst is to manage weight, and the best way to do that is by eating less," Dr. Dodge says. "The foods you eat are important for your health, but how much you eat—how many calories you consume— will determine your weight." 2. The second way to prevent heart disease? Do more to stay healthy, both for your body and your mind. "The key is to do something that you enjoy," Dr. Dodge says. "If you don't enjoy it, you are not going to do it. It can be anything—walking, going to the gym, dancing. Just any kind of activity that gets you moving." By keeping your weight down, you're able to stay more active. You're able to prevent not only heart disease, but also diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea, which contribute to developing heart disease. 3. The third preventive measure is to take the medications your physician recommends, particularly aspirin, cholesterol-lowering medications and high blood pressure medications. The goal is to have a longer and happier life. "It's very simple," Dr. Dodge says. "It's not easy, but it's simple." PHOTOS BY MARK BRYANT 6 | HEALTH & HOPE SPRING 2018

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