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Are You Heart Smart?

Heart disease can strike anyone. That's why NCH is making it easy to find out if you are at risk. Click here to take a quick quiz to assess your risk for heart disease.

Get Heart Healthy

Keep your ticker in tiptop shape—starting today

Your heart will beat more than 100,000 times today. In fact, if you live into your 80s, your ticker may top a whopping 3 billion heartbeats.

Maybe it's time you said thank you.

This month, why not give your heart a little love? Learning about your risk factors—and controlling the ones you can—can set your heart up for better health.

Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Heart Health

"When most of us think of heart health, we're thinking of our arteries," says Paul Ruzumna, MD, chief of cardiology at Northwest Community Hospital. "What we understand about coronary artery disease—blocked arteries—is that it starts when we are in our 20s and often first becomes evident in our 40s and 50s."

Therefore, at any age, it is essential to know the risk factors that put your arteries in peril, and make changes now to prevent heart disease in the future.

According to the American Heart Association, the risk factors for heart disease that you can modify, treat or control include:

  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Diabetes

Medication compliance for those with blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes or other health conditions, is essential. "With coronary artery disease, there can be very sudden events. For instance, when people stop taking medication to manage these conditions it increases the risk of a heart attack," says Dr. Ruzumna.

Not sure how healthy your heart is? "If you're 30 or 40 with blood pressure or cholesterol questions, you should see your doctor for information that can get you on the right path. By 50 or 60, this proactive approach to your health could prevent a heart attack."

Steps We Can Take

At NCH, we take heart care seriously. Five times in the last decade, NCH has been ranked a Top 100 Hospital for Cardiovascular Care by Thomson Reuters.

As an accredited Chest Pain Center from the Society of Chest Pain Centers, NCH also has a team of doctors skilled in finding the source of chest pain. "A lot of patients may have vague or unusual symptoms. Since no two patients are alike, patients with chest pain receive immediate testing and treatment, if needed. We're highly proactive in determining the cause and providing the necessary treatment," Dr. Ruzumna says.

Patients can rest assured knowing that the most advanced treatment options are available at Northwest Community. NCH offers the expertise and technology of big university centers, but in a community setting that is more focused on the patient experience. The multidisciplinary team of cardiovascular specialists offers collaborative and comprehensive care, which means they work together—utilizing a full range of cardiac services—to develop the best treatment plan for each patient.

High-Tech Treatment for Irregular Heartbeats

Northwest Community Hospital now offers cardiac cryoablation, an innovative treatment that uses extreme cold to treat atrial fibrillation. "A-fib," a fast, irregular heartbeat, forces the heart's upper and lower chambers to work out of sync. Left untreated, it can lead to stroke. Cryoablation freezes and inactivates regions near the pulmonary veins that trigger these irregular heartbeats.

Click here to discover how the procedure helped a Schaumburg woman get back to the natural rhythm of her life.

Phillip Ludkowski, MD

Paul A. Ruzumna, MD

Chief of Cardiology at NCH

  • Board Certified: Cardiology
  • Medical School: Wayne State University
  • Internship, Residency And Fellowship: Northwestern Memorial Hospital

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Last Updated 04/10/2009