Open house for Ornish program will be Thursday, Aug. 16

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease has enabled thousands of people to lower their risk of heart attack and avoid the need for procedures like angioplasty and coronary bypass surgery. Learn more about this unique program at an Ornish Open House from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 16 in the cafeteria on the fourth floor of WVU Healthcare’s Ruby Memorial Hospital.

“This lifestyle modification program enables participants to slow, stop and reverse many of the symptoms of coronary artery disease,” Dave Harshbarger, program director, said. “Many people are able to avoid invasive procedures and stave off first or repeat heart attacks or strokes.”

The Ornish Program combines a low-fat vegetarian diet, moderate aerobic exercise, stress management and social support to reduce chest pain (angina), blockages in coronary arteries and serum cholesterol levels. The program’s components help improve blood flow through the heart muscle, exercise capacity and the sense of well-being and satisfaction with life.
Candidates for the program include:
•    People who are contemplating bypass surgery or angioplasty but seeking an alternative that may reduce the need for these procedures.
•    People who have previously experienced one or more heart procedures and want to minimize the chances of repeating them.
•    People diagnosed with coronary artery disease (angina or past heart attacks).
•    People with significant risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol levels and a strong family history.

“All participants have lost weight and dropped overall body fat. Their cholesterol levels have declined and their perceived stress has decreased dramatically,” Harshbarger said. “We’re very proud of these participants.”

 A specially trained staff administers the program at WVU Healthcare.

“The Ornish Program is a change in diet, attitude and lifestyle. People learn how to eat properly and adopt healthy behaviors to stop sabotaging themselves. They get back in control and start doing activities that many of them thought were lost forever,” Harshbarger said. “But the best news is that even for people with documented heart disease, it’s not too late. The program works – and it works well – in preventing and reversing heart disease.”

For more information and to RSVP, call 304-293-2520. Those insured by Medicare, PEIA, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Geisinger Health Plan may qualify for coverage.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in West Virginia and the United States. In fact, it kills nearly 7,000 West Virginians each year; in the United States, that number is closer to a half million.

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dh: 07-30-12