Want to Fight Heart Disease? Walk the Walk
More than a lot of people, Einstein Healthcare Network vice president and chief nurse executive Ric Cuming, EdD, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, knows fully well the impact heart disease has on human life.
“As a nurse, I worked many years in the coronary care unit/medical ICU,” he says, “and then I moved into the operating room and joined the open heart surgery team.”
But one day last December, heart disease really hit home.
“My best friend Gary passed away from a massive heart attack. He died at 56, about four months short of his 57th birthday. To make matters worse, his partner of 32 years, Mike, came home to find him in the bathroom.”
So when the Philadelphia Heart Walk 2015 steps off Saturday, November 7, at Citizens Bank Park, Cuming—part of a team of Einstein executives—will have a bit of extra motivation: “I’m walking for Gary.”
Walking through the concourses of Citizens Bank will help bolster research into heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States—by far exceeding the mortality rate associated with other diseases.
“One person a minute is dying of heart disease,” says marketing manager Robert Johnson. “It’s frightening. It’s wildly pervasive throughout Philadelphia, but also in the community surrounding Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia at large.” What’s more, heart disease is no respecter of gender. It’s the leading cause of death in women. “One in three women will get heart disease,” says Johnson. “One in 30 will die of breast cancer.”
Heart disease also has a disproportionate impact on minorities, says Johnson, where heart disease is spiking. For example, African-Americans have a 33 percent greater chance of death due to cardiovascular disease than Americans at large, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
All dollars raised by participants in the Heart Walk go to finance American Heart Association grants and funds for research, says Johnson. Einstein has benefited from that AHA funding. Case in point, says Johnson: Vincent M. Figueredo, MD, FACC, FAHA, FASE, FACP, director of the Cardiovascular Diseases Fellowship Programs and associate chair of Cardiology at Einstein Medical Center, started his career with an AHA grant.
In the meantime, you can and should get a jump on heart disease, says Johnson. “You shouldn’t wait until you have a heart attack before you take care of your heart health,” he says. “Many of the people we see find out they have heart disease when they have their first heart attack.”
Learn more about the Heart Walk. Walk for yourself—and just maybe, for someone you love.