About Heart Health
Heart disease is the world's leading cause of death. Director of Mount Sinai Heart and Professor of Cardiology Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, believes that sobering statistic mandates a new approach to preventing cardiovascular disease.
"We are identifying people at risk much earlier in order to promote a healthy heart, rather than treating people much later, when the disease has already manifested," Dr. Fuster says.
Jonathan L. Halperin, MD, Professor of Cardiology and Director of Clinical Cardiology Services, agrees that identifying and addressing heart disease risk factors early is key.
"The whole paradigm is shifting away from targeting the person at the edge of the cliff toward identifying him well before he reaches that edge," Dr. Halperin says. "We've moved from being able to diagnose disease when it is present to identifying and overcoming risk before disease develops."
Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors
Most people with heart disease have had prior exposure to at least one major risk factor. The good news is that many of these factors can be managed, even reversed. Simple lifestyle changes can have a tremendous impact on heart health.
Risk factors include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol)
- Low HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol)
- Diabetes or insulin resistance
- Cigarette smoking
- Family history of premature atherosclerosis, including heart attack or stroke
- Depression and social isolation
- Excess weight or obesity
- Diet low in fruits and vegetables
- Abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG) results
Dr. Fuster believes that heart-healthy lifestyles need to be taught from earliest childhood. "Mount Sinai Heart is an engine of original prevention ideas," Dr. Fuster says. "With our outstanding team of clinicians and scientists, we are in the best position to lead the charge in fighting cardiovascular disease."
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Programs
Mount Sinai Heart sponsors several programs to promote heart-healthy living and prevent cardiovascular disease.
Urban Community Program
Mount Sinai Heart is located near some of New York City's most diverse communities. We've also developed relationships with medical facilities across the metropolitan area. The result is better care for our neighbors and well-rounded, clinically strong cardiologists-in-training with first-hand experience serving diverse populations.
Jill Kalman, MD, Associate Professor of Cardiology and Director of the Cardiomyopathy Program, cites Mount Sinai's 30-year relationship with Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, NY. Elmhurst Hospital is the setting for Mount Sinai's Urban Community Cardiology Fellowship Training Program. The hospital serves about 1 million immigrants in one of the nation's most ethnically diverse communities.
Many patients have cardiac conditions not often seen in the United States, such as rheumatic heart disease and tuberculosis pericardial disease. "Our work with Elmhurst Hospital helps us have a bigger impact on the community, bringing specific care to an area with a very diverse ethnicity," says Dr. Kalman.
In addition to Elmhurst Hospital, Mount Sinai Heart has clinical and academic affiliations all around the metropolitan area. In New Jersey, we work with St. Joseph's Hospital in Paterson. In New York City's boroughs, we are affiliated with Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, The Bronx VA Hospital, Cabrini Medical Center in Manhattan, and Queens Hospital Center in Queens.
Martha Stewart Center for Living
The Martha Stewart Center for Living specializes in working with older adults. The Center offers compassionate, comprehensive support to families and caregivers. Patients have access to healthy living activities, educational programs, and community referrals.
"The Martha Stewart Center for Living is an unbelievable resource for my older patients," says consulting cardiac specialist Bruce Darrow, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Cardiology. "I know that while I am concentrating on their heart problems, my patients have the attention of a community of specially trained geriatric physicians and staff. We take a holistic approach to the care of our older patients, body and mind."
Community Education and Outreach
At least six times per year, Mount Sinai Heart physicians and staff participate in community and employee health fairs in a variety of settings. There they take blood pressure readings, check cholesterol and glucose levels, determine body mass index, and offer cooking demonstrations to promote healthy diets.
"On the first Friday in February, on the American Heart Association's 'Go Red for Women Day,' we sponsor a large health fair," says Mary Ann McLaughlin, MD, Associate Professor of Cardiology and Medical Director of the Cardiac Health Program and Director of the Women's Cardiac Assessment and Risk Evaluation Program. "We also go out into schools, church groups, banks, nursing homes, and country clubs to talk about heart disease."
International Complex Care Program
Our International Complex Care Program offers patients from around the world access to all state-of-the-art diagnostic tests and procedures performed by world-renowned Mount Sinai Heart physicians.