February is American Heart Month so we’re shedding light on a heart disease program that’s like no other in the state.
Midland Health's Lifestyle Medicine Center is the only facility in Texas to offer the Ornish Program for reversing heart disease.
As of 2016, 28.2 million U.S. adults were diagnosed with heart disease. In 2015, nearly 634,000 people died of heart disease, making it the leading cause of death.
According to the American Heart Association, approximately every 40 seconds an American will have a heart attack.
“When somebody has a heart issue as I said, a heart attack, stent, angina, congestive heart failure or maybe they’ve had biomass surgery.. they have to go through a rehab program. And they have a choice," said K.C. Blackketter, Professional Licensed Counselor.
"They can do traditional rehab which focuses on the exercise and changing your eating habits. Or if they can do the Ornish heart rehab program, where it’s more holistic."
It’s the only program in the state that focuses on four root areas of your life for reversing heart disease. The first two are diet and exercise.
“We work with the patients in developing an exercise program that they can maintain, not just for the few weeks that we do this but for life. We talk about diet and we focus on a whole food plant-based diet because it has been proven to be more effective in heart health than any other diet out there,” said Blackketter.
The third area is stress management.
“Stress is toxic to our health. Kind of like sugar to a diabetic, stress is just terrible. We have stress management specialist that uses yoga techniques that focuses on breathing and relaxation and things that you can utilize regularly in your life especially at those crucial moments” said Blackketter.
Last but not least, group support is the fourth pillar the program focuses on.
“How can I have a safe place where I can actually be honest and vulnerable. how can identify what my emotions are and express that? And then if somebody does share their with me, how can I respond in a way that’s not critical, not condemning, not negative, that encourages a connection as far as building relationships?” said Blackketter.
It's a 72 hour therapy program where patients are required to come in four hours a day twice a week.
Blakketter says the best part about it is Medicare and most major insurance companies will pay for the program, because they’re realizing it's better to pay money to keep people healthy versus paying to help them when they're sick.
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