Archive | February 6, 2017

Join Us For A Therapy Dog Stress Break

Dogs are affectionately called man’s best friend. But did you know their companionship also offers benefits for your heart health? Studies show a canine companion can help with everything from lowering blood pressure to reducing stress. That’s why Lexington Medical Center is hosting a “therapy dog stress break” where visitors and staff members can come to the hospital and spend time with furry friends on Valentine’s Day. The event is free and open to the public.

Community members are invited to the North Tower Atrium inside Lexington Medical Center from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 14 to shake off some stress by petting a dog. Lexington Medical Center clinicians will also be on hand to answer questions about how managing stress and finding relaxing activities can help our health.

According to the American Heart Association, pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, may help reduce a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease:
*Studies have found that pet owners have lower blood pressure and resting heart rates than people who do not have a pet, even when they had a similar body mass index (BMI) and socioeconomic profile.
*Research shows dog owners are more likely to be physically active than non-dog owners — tending to walk longer and more often.
*A study found that younger children whose families owned a dog were less likely to be overweight or obese compared with children in families without a dog.
*Additional research has found that pets lower stress and help heart patients live longer.

Each of the dogs participating in the event is a certified therapy dog that visits patients at Lexington Medical Center’s main campus in West Columbia and Extended Care, the hospital’s skilled nursing facility in Lexington. They are a popular and important part of Lexington Medical Center’s Volunteer Services department.

Marching To A New Beat

Pacemaker Restores Busy Mom’s Heart Rate and Good Health

Janet Smoak knew something was wrong. She was gaining weight, felt depressed, confused, out of breath, dizzy and exhausted.

“There was a time that I stayed in bed for three days” she said. “I couldn’t walk from one side of my office to the other without being out of breath.”

Janet Smoak inside Lexington Medical Center

Janet is a 46-year-old wife and mother of two sons who works as a division administrator for Lexington Medical Center’s Physician Network. She went to her doctor, thinking she was falling apart.

She underwent every screening from blood work to heart tests at Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. Ultimately, doctors determined Janet had a condition called bradycardia, which is an abnormally slow heart rate.

The doctors wanted to implant a pacemaker. With her symptoms continuing to get worse, she agreed.

William Brabham, MD, FHRS, an electrophysiologist at Lexington Cardiology, was Janet’s doctor.

Dr. William Brabham

“It’s reasonable to implant a pacemaker if patients have a low resting heart rate and fatigue, shortness of breath with activity, and the inability to increase their heart rate appropriately,” Dr. Brabham said. “It’s also recommended if people have passed out and have low resting heart rates.”

Dr. Brabham and his team inserted the pacemaker below the collar bone and passed wires into the heart to help promote a healthy heart rate. The results were excellent.

“After I got the pacemaker, I immediately started feeling better and had energy,” Janet said. “I can honestly say for the first time, ‘I feel good.’”

An abnormally slow heart rate is usually defined as less than 60 beats per minute. But a slow heart rate on its own does not necessarily indicate a problem. For example, some well-conditioned athletes have slow resting heart rates. And fatigue may not indicate a heart problem; instead, it could simply be a result of the hectic pace of life. But when several symptoms are present, it’s time to take a closer look.

Since having the pacemaker implanted nearly one year ago, Janet has lost 30 pounds, has more energy and feels good again.