By presidential proclamation, February is American Heart Month and nationwide there is a drive to raise awareness of the preventive measures and ways to avoid heart disease. Its primary importance? It is the country’s number one killer of both men and women. And, most importantly there are steps everyone can take to lower risk factors according to local experts.


By presidential proclamation, February is American Heart Month and nationwide there is a drive to raise awareness of the preventive measures and ways to avoid heart disease. Its primary importance? It is the country’s number one killer of both men and women. And, most importantly there are steps everyone can take to lower risk factors according to local experts.
Dr. Mathew Kuber, 60, who practices cardiology at Wayne Memorial Hospital and has according to him “approximately 5,000 patients total” sat down with The News Eagle in his office on Route 191 last week to discuss heart disease and ways to avoid the rampant killer of millions.
Currently, this is his slow time but during the summer, he said he works approximately 18 hours a day when the population increases with visitors.
Foremost, he wanted to list the most important risk factors for heart disease which are smoking, having diabetes 2, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and/or a sedentary life style.
Dr. Kuber decided to practice in this area after going to medical school at Temple University in Philadelphia because “there was no cardiologist in this county.” He has been here for 30 years.
He explained that the harsh winters actually contribute to heart disease locally because  people get very little exercise if they stay inside or get sudden massive exercise in shoveling snow. Also, the lack of sunshine is a contributor in that during warm and sunny days in other more temperate areas of the country, everyone tends to get out more and be active.
“Regular exercise plays a big part in the prevention of heart disease,” he emphasized. It is imperative that everyone have some sort of activity that they do as often as possible, even if it is just walking. In fact, he recommends going for a short walk at least three times a week for 20 minutes.
“A temperate climate has a great deal to do with how much people weigh and obesity is also a massive risk for heart disease” he stated.
“Stress, too, can be very damaging,” he added. Ways to reduce stress are meditation, religion and not dwelling on specifics that contribute to stress. Dr. Kuber, himself, is a regular church attendant.
“Early detection and prevention is the best cure,” he emphasized. “Once someone has a heart attack, the damage is done,” he explained.
“People should start having a healthy lifestyle as early as their twenties and eat a low sodium, low fat diet starting then,” he directed.
Since sunshine and Vitamin K are contributors to health, Dr. Kuber practices what he preaches and has already bought a condominium in Florida where he plans on retiring. He has few vacations now but when he does, he heads for the sun.
Nadine Greco, who is the Cardiac Rehab Coordinator at Wayne Memorial, a position she has held for 19 years took some time out from her busy schedule to speak with The News Eagle about recovering from a heart attack or from bypass surgery.
Wearing her Lance Armstrong slim fitting top in support of driving out the demons of cancer and heart disease through regular exercise, Greco explained her job.
“After preliminary evaluation, we put people on a program and on the various equipment that is around the room. Of course, they are also connected to a heart monitor so we can watch them,” she explained.
A lifestyle that is not healthy is the biggest risk factor in having a heart attack, she said, agreeing with Dr. Kuber.
Also, she and Dr. Kuber said that Wayne County, specifically, has a high rate of heart disease and cancer because the population tends to be elderly and there are many obese people. “Wayne County is higher than the national average,” she said
Men between the ages of 40 and 60 years of age are at the greatest risk, then when women go through Menopause and reach 75, they catch up with them.
She said it was very important to listen to your own body. Have cardiac and stress tests done before there is a problem. Get under the care of a physician and primarily, as Dr. Kuber stressed emphatically, get on a regular exercise regimen.
Heart attack symptoms are different for men and women. For men, they are chest pain, pain down one or both arms, indigestion or feeling nauseated are some. For women, neck pain around the jaw, losing interest in things and shortness of breath can be symptoms, even if they are not severe.
It is also important to look to friends and family for support. “Isolation does not work,” Greco added.