Reflecting on 28 Days of Heart Health


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This February, we launched a month-long initiative to promote heart health 365 days a year.

At UT Southwestern, we went big for National Heart Month in February 2017 – each and every day of the month! We launched an initiative that we called “28 Days of Heart Health” in which we hosted events, posted videos, and shared articles on everything from healthy eating tips to what to do in case of a cardiac emergency. We estimate that our videos were viewed 246,000 times and we reached more than 700,000 people on Facebook!

UT Southwestern is all in on heart care each and every day, 365 days a year. But 28 Days of Heart Health was a great way for our physicians and other team members to show how committed we are to these efforts.

Below are highlights of just some of what we accomplished during this campaign, as well as the complete 28 Days of Heart Health calendar (see below). If you’re looking to be more heart-conscious or want to learn more about heart diseases and treatments, this is a great place to start.

Healthy lifestyle research and advice

As Amit Khera, M.D., Director of Preventative Cardiology at UT Southwestern might say, prevention is the best medicine for your heart. Exercising regularly, eating the right foods, and knowing your body mass index can help keep your heart healthy now and prevent any problems down the road.

Know Your Numbers: Heart Health

Amit Khera, M.D., Director of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Preventive Cardiology Program, on the numbers everyone should know about their heart health. Prevention really is the best medicine.

UT Southwestern dietitians did live cooking demonstrations of healthy, kid-friendly meals. They also provided recipes and video tutorials for some of their favorite healthy – and delicious – recipes, including sweet potato nachos and white bean and tomato bruschetta salad, below.

Heart Healthy Sweet Potato Nachos

White Bean and Tomato Bruschetta Salad

We also explored the power of exercise. In important studies conducted in his human physiology laboratory, Benjamin Levine, M.D., founder and Director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine and Professor of Internal Medicine/Cardiology and Distinguished Professor of Exercise Sciences at UT Southwestern, found that regular exercise can prevent – and even reverse – aging characteristics of the heart. 

Our cardiology fellows shared their advice for incorporating exercise into a busy routine and one of them even underwent a cardiopulmonary exercise stress test.

We also hosted the Million Step Challenge at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, where our employees walked more than 1.1 million steps in one day – a true testament of their commitment to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle.

Inspiring stories about our patients

National Heart Month was also a great time to celebrate some of our patients who have overcome enormous obstacles resulting from their heart conditions.

One example was the story of Devin Rose, an infant born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Devin was rushed to surgery less than 15 minutes after his birth and had two open-heart surgeries before his first birthday. Careful planning, collaborative care, and cutting-edge medicine have given Devin a chance to grow up like a normal kid.

We honored Heart Failure Awareness Week with a video featuring patients Linda Johnson, Daniel Quintana, and Brooks Haley. As this video shows, heart failure isn’t just an affliction of the elderly – it can affect people of all ages and ethnic groups for a wide range of reasons.

The Faces of Heart Failure

Heart failure can affect people in the prime of their life. As Heart Failure Week continues, meet the patients who depend on UT Southwestern for their heart health care.

The transplant program at UT Southwestern continues to grow every year and deliver excellent results for our patients. In 2016, our surgeons performed several exceedingly rare transplants, including a lifesaving heart-liver transplant for Texas musician Andrea Joyner.

Lifesaving skills

We also used National Heart Month as a way to refresh your emergency skills. Performing CPR or using an automated external defibrillator (AED) are extremely easy to do and could equip you to save the life of a friend, family member, or stranger during an acute cardiac episode.

Hands-Only CPR

Demonstration of hands-only CPR

Every year, more than 300,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital. When this happens, performing CPR can mean life instead of death. Kami Banks, M.D., Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern, walked us through the steps of hands-only CPR, a simple two-step action that could be lifesaving.

We also wanted to allow people to have hands-on experience in performing CPR. So we hosted community events at NorthPark Center, the Dallas World Aquarium, and the Perot Museum, where all were welcome to learn and practice this vital skill. In these events, we’re proud to say we had almost 700 people participate. 

Mark Link, M.D., Director of Electrophysiology at UT Southwestern, demonstrated how to use AEDs. These devices are available in most public places, including airports, malls, and gyms, and they deliver an electric shock to someone whose heart has gone into a life-threatening rhythm. It sounds intimidating, but these devices are actually easy to use and could – and often do – save a life.

28 Days of Heart Health: Take Two

February 2017 is now in the books. We hope you took away some important tips that will help you or someone you know stay heart healthy, or maybe even allow you to save someone’s life in an emergency.

Mark your calendar for February 2018. We’re already planning another edition of 28 Days of Heart Health full of fun and informative events. We hope to see you then!

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Healthy Heart, Healthy Life

All month of February, come back here for daily updates on advice, freebies, and fun events to keep your heart healthy.