Thursday, February 07, 2013
Exercise is good for your heart
By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Every winter someone goes out to shovel snow and has a heart attack. We do not always realize that exercise takes many forms. Shoveling snow might not be on a par with using a treadmill. However, it can still be pretty hard work. We sometimes forget that there are a lot of things that we might not classify as exercise. That does not mean that they are not dangerous to someone who is not in shape. We might try and carry things long distances. This could be a suitcase at the airport or helping the children move into college. It always amazed me at how few college dorms actually had elevators. We might decide to run to get out of the rain. These kinds of unplanned exercises can be dangerous for someone who does not exercise regularly. Most people think that the reason to exercise is to burn calories. They associate that with weight loss. That is not true. The reason to exercise is to keep all of your muscles in shape and that includes the very important muscle known as the heart. There are not a large number of arteries in the heart. The more arteries that exist, the more there are to supply blood to heart muscle. One of the things that research has addressed over the years is what is called collateral circulation. Last week I wrote about exercising brain function to encourage portions of the brain to grow more cells. Along the same lines, regular exercise produces an increase in the number of arteries in the heart. They form different branches and they cover different areas. The result is that if one artery gets blocked, there is a possibility of another artery supplying blood to that portion of the heart. This can decrease the risk of a heart attack in the case of the blockage of an artery. We need to realize that there are a lot of muscle fibers in the heart. Every one of those muscle fibers needs oxygen. Oxygen is carried in the blood stream. The more blood going to that muscle, the more oxygen is available. If one of those arteries is shut off, it is important that the blood arrive via another source. We need to remember that this refers to the smaller arteries of the heart. If there is a blockage to one of the major arteries, it is not likely that there will be enough collateral circulation. However, if there is a blockage to one of the smaller arteries, collateral circulation might be life saving. This particular reason for exercise is not often discussed. However, it is likely to be a more important reason to exercise than just losing weight. The individuals who have a heart attack from shoveling snow are not just out of shape. They probably have poor collateral circulation. When one of their arteries is blocked off, there is not another one to help pick up the circulation to that area of the heart muscle.

Flu remains widespread in state Influenza activity in Delaware remains elevated and widespread. As of Jan. 19, Delaware's Division of Public Health has confirmed 868 flu total cases statewide for this flu season. During the week of Jan. 13-19, there were 20 influenza-related hospitalizations reported in Delaware and no influenza-related deaths as of Jan. 19. DPH recently issued a declaration allowing the use of mercury-containing vaccine for pregnant women and children younger than 8 years of age for the 2012-2013 influenza vaccine. According to the FDA, thimerosal has been the subject of several studies and has a long record of safe and effective use preventing bacterial and fungal contamination of vaccines, with no ill effects established other than minor local reactions at the site of injection. The declaration will remain in effect until Sept. 30. Residents who are not yet vaccinated are encouraged to contact their health care provider about getting vaccinated. DPH is expanding vaccination opportunities at public health clinics. Vaccinations are available from DPH by appointment at area clinics as follows: Adams State Service Center, age 6 months and older at 546 S. Bedford St., Georgetown. Call for appointment, 856-5213. Milford Riverwalk, age 3 years and above at 253 NE Front St., Riverwalk Shopping Center, Milford. Call for appointment, 424-7130. If you need information on the flu or where to get vaccinated visit or call 800-282-8672.

Beebe earns recertification Beebe Medical Center has \received certification from The Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. The recertification means that Beebe Medical Center provides a nationally recognized standard of care that fosters the best possible outcomes for stroke sufferers. The Joint Commission assesses hospital stroke programs every two years. Beebe Medical Center has offered a certified stroke program since 2010. Certification means that Beebe Medical Center is ready and able to treat patients with stroke twenty-four-hours-a-day, seven days a week. The recertification represents the culmination of an effort Beebe Medical Center began in 2009 to develop the hospital-wide stroke program grounded in evidence-based protocols. In May 2011, Beebe Medical Center's efforts were recognized when it received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award.

Tunnell Cancer Center recognized Beebe Medical Center's Tunnell Cancer Center has been recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) Certification Program, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The QOPI Certification Program certifies oncology practices that meet the highest quality standards for cancer care. QOPI is a voluntary, self-assessment and improvement program launched by ASCO in 2006 to help hematology-oncology and medical oncology practices assess the quality of the care they provide to patients. The QOPI Certification Program provides a three-year certification for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet standards for quality cancer care.

Compassionate Friends meets Feb. 14 The Lighthouse Chapter of The Compassionate Friends will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14, in the Branford Lounge at Epworth United Methodist Church in Rehoboth Beach. The topic of the evening will be "Valentine's Day...Hallmark holiday or Day of Remembrance," how you deal with past traditions that may have been lost or that you've continued despite the death of your child. The TCF Lighthouse Chapter Memory Table will be set up and you are encouraged to bring a photo of your child. Bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings are encouraged to attend. For more information, call Hope Tyler, 645-7572; Joan Wallen, 226-1623 or Marge LaFond, 703-2383.

Bayhealth Home Care honored Bayhealth Home Care has been named to the Home Care Elite Status for 2012. This is the fourth year out of the seven years the award has been given that Bayhealth Home Care has achieved this distinction. Home Care Elite is a compilation of the most successful Medicare certified Home Care providers in the United States. This annual review recognizes the Top 25 percent of agencies. Winners are ranked by an analysis of performance measures in quality of care, quality improvement, patient experience, process measure implementation and financial management. For more information about Bayhealth Home Care, call 302-744-7300.

2013 Walk MS dates The Delaware Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has announced the 2013 Walk MS dates and is inviting all Delawareans to join the movement. Each year thousands of loved ones, friends, and neighbors throughout Delaware – from Wilmington's Riverfront to Sussex County's Baywood Greens – lace up and step out in solidarity, with hopes of creating a world free of MS. Last year, over a quarter million dollars was raised to help out the 1,550 Delawareans living with multiple sclerosis. The Twilight at Heritage Shores walk in Bridgeville will be held on May 31 and the walk at Baywood Greens will be held on June 7. To register, visit or call 302-655-5610.

End-of-Life Coalition awards dinner Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, will be the keynote speaker at the Delaware End-of-Life Coalition's 5th Annual Excellence Awards Dinner on Thursday, March 21.

This event honors the outstanding professionals throughout the state who make a significant difference in the care of individuals dealing with end-of-life issues. The dinner costs $65 and will be held at the Deerfield Country Club, Newark. These awards recognize physicians, nurses, certified nurse assistants, counseling professionals and community organizations for their significant contributions to the betterment of patients and their families at the end-of-life. Sponsorship packages are available and nominations are still being accepted, visit Plan to attend the celebration and meet Crystal Rush, Miss Delaware International. To register visit

Minnick promoted at Beebe Beebe Medical Center announces that Paul Minnick, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, has been promoted to executive vice president/chief operating officer. Since 2010, Minnick has served as vice president of patient care services, and has been responsible for the hospital's nursing units and for developing and implementing nursing strategy and system policies to ensure quality patient care. In his new position, Minnick is responsible for all clinical and other operational departments throughout the hospital, as well as all operations at outpatient facilities throughout the medical organization's service area. He continues as a member of the medical center's executive staff and reports to President and CEO Jeffrey M. Fried, FACHE. Minnick brought to Beebe Medical Center more than 25 years of experience in the clinical nursing profession while working at leading medical teaching institutions. More than 20 of those years were in clinical leadership positions, most of which were at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Minnick's early nursing experiences were as a staff nurse and nurse coordinator at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He earned his bachelor's of science degree in nursing from the University of Delaware and his master's of science degree in nursing administration from LaSalle University in Philadelphia.

Program receives grant The Delaware Division of Public Health's immunization program has received a $995,202 grant award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. The immunization program ensures providers have access to and administer all recommended vaccines, keeps providers up-to-date on relevant developments in the vaccine field and maintains their awareness of the epidemiology of vaccine preventable disease in Delaware and across the nation. The immunization registry, DelVAX, has been online since December 2011. With the additional funding to improve interoperability, the registry is in the process of linking providers electronically to DelVAX through the Delaware Health Information Network. This will eliminate the need for duplicate data entry and further improve data quality.

Sussex 'turns red' in February February is National Heart Month. Heart disease is a serious condition across the country. Preventing or reducing your risk of heart disease includes things like eating a healthy diet, physical activity and working with your physician to manage your blood pressure and cholesterol. But often, we put aside our own health as we deal with life's everyday duties. So, at times, it's good to be reminded to stop and take care of our hearts by taking steps toward a heart healthy lifestyle. During the month of February, Nanticoke Health Services, along with the City of Seaford and the American Heart Association, are Turning Sussex Red to raise awareness about heart disease and to encourage the community to move toward a heart healthy lifestyle. Gateway Park in Seaford will be lit with red lights throughout the month. Local businesses are being challenged to participate in raising awareness by either putting a red light in their window or by hanging a heart health awareness poster in their work place. To get a poster for your place of business, call 629-6611, ext. 8948. You can also learn more or download a poster at

How to prevent scalds Scald injuries affect all ages. Young children and the elderly are most vulnerable. According to the American Burn Association, prevention is key. In the United States and Canada, over 500,000 people receive medical treatment for burn injuries annually. Roughly half of these injuries are scalds. Most burns occur in the home, usually in the kitchen or bathroom. Scalds can be prevented through increased awareness of scald hazards and by making simple environmental or behavioral changes. These include providing a "kid-safe" zone while preparing and serving hot foods and beverages, and lowering the water heater thermostat to deliver water at a temperature not to exceed 120 degrees. For more information about preventing scalds, contact Michael Lowe at the Delaware State Fire School at 302-739-4773.

Alzheimer's Caregiver Support Group Cadia Rehab Renaissance near Millsboro is hosting and facilitating an Alzheimer's Association Caregiver Support Group that meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. beginning Feb. 26. All meetings are open to the public and interested parties are invited to attend. Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. One person out of eight who reaches the age of 65 will develop Alzheimer's, as will one person out of every two who reaches the age of 85.

Parkinson's support group meeting The Nanticoke Parkinson's Education and Support Group will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on the third Monday of each month, from 10 to 11:30 a.m in the ballroom at the Nanticoke Senior Center. The public is welcome to attend the meeting and stay for lunch and a social time after the meeting.

CPR classes offered Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and receive a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $45. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Walk for Autism is April 20 As a statewide agency whose mission is to create better lives for people with autism, Autism Delaware is expanding to provide the range of services needed by all Delawareans living with autism spectrum disorders over their lifespans. To this end, the nonprofit agency relies on volunteers, donations, and fundraising. "Our next big fundraiser in southern Delaware is Walk for Autism on April 20 at Cape Henlopen State Park," says Lisa Albany, the committee chair. "Our goal is to raise as much as possible to provide services through Autism Delaware that benefit individuals with autism spectrum disorders. We need volunteers to help run the event plus business and corporate leaders to sponsor it." "The need for autism services and support is rising rapidly," adds Autism Delaware Executive Director Teresa Avery. "The CDC now says that one in 88 children is identified with an autism spectrum disorder. In 1991, the Delaware Department of Education reported 152 public school students with autism – and 982 in 2010. That's a 546 percent increase over 19 years. For more information, visit