Pet Therapy Dogs Make the Perfect Valentine

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 hosted a “therapy dog stress break” where visitors and staff members spent time with furry friends on Valentine’s Day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 was 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.

Lexington Medical Center clinicians were also on hand to answer questions about how managing stress and finding relaxing activities can help our health. And, visitors received a free blood pressure screening.

Opioids: What’s New?

South Carolina has a growing opioid epidemic. In 2016, 616 people died of opioid-related overdoses in our state. And those numbers continue to increase, especially with people who overdose on prescription medication. It’s a problem that faces everyone from teenagers to the elderly.

At Lexington Medical Center, Dr. Grant Sullivan leads a committee studying how clinicians proscribe opioids. It’s called the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Committee. He formed it after he saw a significant number of people admitted to the hospital with overdose injuries.

He talked about his work and the opioid epidemic in this interview with WIS-TV.

To learn more about opioid issues in South Carolina, visit the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services at

“Just Say Know” to High Blood Pressure with USC Basketball Coach Frank Martin

University of South Carolina men’s basketball coach Frank Martin takes center court in Lexington Medical Center’s heart health campaign this month.

In a series of three television spots, Coach Martin appears at a news conference answering questions about heart disease.

“Heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women in South Carolina,” said Mark Shelley, vice president of Marketing and Communications at Lexington Medical Center. “We hope that the commercials attract attention and encourage community members to see their doctor and make heart health a priority.”

In the commercials, the coach speaks with the same intensity and straightforward attitude for which he’s famous.

“In every walk of life we need a coach. Go see your doctor. That’s your coach,” Coach Martin said.

Lexington Medical Center wants community members to “Just Say Know” to heart disease. Practicing healthy habits and knowing blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride numbers can lower the risk of heart disease.

Watch the series below and look for the commercials with Frank Martin throughout February and March during television programming.