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Need for heart care grows in the Tri-states

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QUINCY (WGEM) -- According to the CDC, a person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.

As the need for heart care grows in the Tri-Stat, Blessing Hospital's Cardiac Rehabilitation department has received national accreditation.

A Blessing heart doctor says although there are ways to treat heart disease, much of it is preventable.

"A year ago, I went in and they found some blockage, they tried to laser it out but they couldn't get it lasered out…"

Quincy resident Keith Brinkman says he had his first bypass surgery in 1999 in Springfield, Illinois.

"…but unfortunately it blocked back up this year," Brinkman explained.

He had surgery again in St. Louis over Memorial Day weekend.

Now, he's back in cardiac rehab at Blessing Hospital.

Dr. Irving Schwartz, Blessing Hospital Director of Cardiac Rehab, says heart disease is all too common, but there are things you can do to prevent it.

"We have a disproportionately high amount of heart disease in this region. A lot of it reflects life style habits, cultural habits…behavioral habits that increase our risks," Schwartz said.

He says simply taking walks could be the difference between developing heart disease or not.

"There's a clear cut benefit that they're exercising as a part of their therapy actually its very very potent," Schwartz said. "In fact, with a 30 percent reduction in future admissions to the hospital."

Brinkman says he's taken that advice and has lost over 100 pounds in the last year and a half.

"It helps me get my strength built back up and just physically it helps me a lot and I think mentally it does too know you can still do it," Brinkman said.

Schwartz says people who have high blood pressure or diabetes are among the most vulnerable for developing heart disease.

More on Blessing Hospital's Cardiac Rehabilitation department accreditation:

It was awarded last month from the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

It recognizes a commitment to improving the quality of life of patients and is valid for three years.

Blessing has held this accreditation since 2017.

Charity Bell

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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