HONESDALE—Noting that coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in Wayne County, the Board of Commissioners proclaimed this week, February 10-16 to be National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week in Wayne County in an effort to raise awareness for the disease and help residents get the treatment they need.

Nadine Greco, Cardiac Rehabilitation Coordinator for Wayne Memorial Hospital (WMH) explained 121 million people, almost half the population, in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of cardiovascular disease.

Greco explained the total increased due to a change in the definition of high blood pressure.

“Right now, if you have anything from 130-139 or 80-89, it's considered stage 1 hypertension,” a risk factor for heart disease.

Greco noted one of the best ways to get ahead of heart disease is making healthy lifestyle changes including exercising at least 150 minutes per week (30 minutes a day for five days), eating a healthy diet and not smoking.

“Most people sit too much,” said Greco. “No matter what age you are, stay active.”

Greco also advised individuals to pay attention to the signals their bodies are giving them, especially continued, increasing pain in the chest.

“Be proactive before you have that cardiac event,” she said.

Greco added that, withing the past two years the Cardiac Catheterization Lab has been active at WMH, there has been an increasing number of 40- and 50-year-old men and women presenting with heart problems.

Greco visited the Commissioners along with Peter Wynne, a five-year cardiac maintenance patient.

Referencing the large snow dump earlier in the year, Wynne stated, “Moving a lot of snow is a pain in the neck, but suddenly I said, 'Ya know, I'm happy I can be here.' And I can be here because of the cardiac program...It's keeping me alive.”

To be admitted into the cardiac rehabilitation program, one needs have had a heart attack within the last year or recent bypass surgery, stent/angioplasty, valve replacement or repair, or heart transplant and a physician's referral.

More information about the cardiac rehab program is available by calling 570-253-8253.