February is American Heart Month, which raises awareness for heart disease.  Ronn Franceschini, director of the RNS Cardiac Rehabilitation Center and his staff want everyone to know the risks and take action.

Bacharach has been a leader in heart health since 1979, when the cardiac rehab center opened. Today the RNS Cardiac Rehab Center treats patients who are recovering from heart attacks, heart failure, heart transplant, valve replacements, and more.  The first step for patients once they are out of the hospital is to complete a 12-week out-patient rehabilitation program.


“During this time we monitor patients closely and use telemetry to monitor heart rhythm, heart rate, blood pressure and identify symptomology before, during and after exercise,” said Ron Franceschini, M.Ed. CSCS, and Director of Cardiac Services. “We also have the patients go through a dietary review during their evaluation, which we go over with them to help them lower their sodium and fat intake, and make heart healthy decisions.”


Education is a big part of the rehabilitation process. Patients are given advice on diet, exercise and stress management.  Patients who monitor risk factors such as cholesterol and smoking, can significantly increase the likelihood that they will remain healthy, explained Franceschini.


It is important that people know the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease, especially women who tend to wait longer to get medical help when they experience symptoms.


“The number one killer for women is cardiovascular disease; it beats out all causes of death among women and still the awareness is not what it should be,” said Franceschini. “We find that in our rehabilitation program at least 40 percent of our patients are female.”


Some warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack include shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, light headedness, and nausea.


“A major risk factor that people need to be aware of is stress, and how to manage it,” said Franceschini. “Stress comes in different shapes and sizes in terms of anxiety and depression, and it can have a huge impact on heart health.” We offer a monthly cardiac support group to address and manage stress and other risk factors.


For more information on Bacharach’s RNS Cardiac Rehabilitation Center call 609-748-2091.


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