Heart Center Presents Free Program: De-Stressing Your Heart


At a recent community program, David Cruz provided free cholesterol and blood sugar screenings
for an attendee

Are you stressed out? Do you often feel sad, anxious or angry? Stress, hostility and depression not only affect your emotional health; they can also take a toll on your heart.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and stress is a risk factor. You cannot control some risk factors, such as your age and family history. However, you can control risk factors such as stress and other lifestyle choices, and research shows that these may account for more than 90 percent of heart attack risk.

To learn how stress affects your heart health and ways to reduce it, SouthMiami Heart Center will present a free community event, De-Stressing Your Heart, Saturday, Sept. 8, 9 a.m.-12 noon, at the Victor E. Clarke Education Center, located on the South Miami Hospital campus.

The program will include heart-healthy information and relaxation techniques presented by healthcare experts, free screenings and a light breakfast.

The panel of experts will include cardiologist and chairman of the South Miami Hospital’s BehavioralMedicine Committee Leonard Zwerling, M.D., and psychologists Catalina Jacobs-Fernandez, Psy.D., and Rosemarie Rodriguez, Ph.D. They will discuss the effects of stress and offer helpful techniques to help you reduce life’s stressors.

“Controlled stress can make you more productive, but excess stress can be harmful,” said Dr. Zwerling. “High levels of stress can elevate your blood pressure and lead to a possible heart attack or stroke.”

One of the first steps to improving heart health is to “know your numbers.” The first 200 attendees at the event will receive free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar and one-on-one counseling from Heart Center experts. With this knowledge, you can implement appropriate lifestyle changes to improve your heart health.

Lifestyle habits such as regular exercise, relaxation techniques and social support have been shown to help relieve emotional distress and reduce your risk for heart disease. South Miami Hospital’s Collaborative Medicine Program offers a variety of low-cost, weekly classes to help you improve your emotional and heart health. These include Yoga-style Exercise, Pilates Exercise and a free 30-minute Stretch and Meditation Break.

To reserve your seat at the event, call 786-596-3812 or email Programs@BaptistHealth.net. Free parking is available at the hospital’s Employee Parking Garage, located across from the Victor E. Clarke Education Center. If you have questions you would like the physicians to address during the program, email them to Smhc@BaptistHealth.net prior to the event.

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