Heart Health seminars successfully inform residents of all ages on heart disease prevention
Great Neck and New Hyde Park residents were invited to ‘Keep Your Heart Healthy’ seminars in February. In honor of February being Heart Health Month, Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (District 10) hosted seminars featuring certified cardiovascular specialist Dr. Robert Rahmani speaking about heart health.
Dr. Rahmani has a private practice in Great Neck and Forest Hills and is affiliated with three branches of the Northwell Health network. With Legislator Pilip hosting the seminars, Dr. Rahmani attended both seminars to discuss heart health and answer questions from the attendees.
Legislator Pilip decided to host two ‘Keep Your Heart Healthy’ seminars this year for the first time. The Great Neck seminar was hosted at the Great Neck House and the New Hyde Park seminar was hosted at the Clinton G. Martin Park Community Center. She was inspired to educate the public after hearing about her husband’s work as a cardiologist and remembering the tough time her father went through with his heart problems.
“My husband would come home and tell us about his day and share special cases with us. We were amazed at how many people come in with heart disease and heart attacks,” said Legislator Pilip. “We were even more amazed when we found out people in their forties were coming to see him.”
It’s a common misconception that heart disease and heart issues only affect older people. Legislator Pilip was shocked to hear how heart disease hurts everyone, not just high-risk people. A lot of other factors contribute.
“About 17 years ago, I asked my father to go get tests done to make sure his heart was okay. He had been a diabetic for a long time, had high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” said Legislator Pilip. “He said he felt fine, but I was stubborn and convinced him to get checked out. The doctors learned that almost everything was closed in his heart and he had to have open heart surgery.”
Thanks to advanced technology when it comes to heart health, Legislator Pilip’s dad is still alive almost 18 years later.
“When people feel they’re healthy and they’re young, they think there is nothing to worry about,” said Legislator Pilip. “But nobody is really protected from heart disease. Since we have medicine, technology and ways to prevent heart disease, I thought to initiate the seminars to give an education.”
According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), heart disease is one of the leading causes of death among men and women. In 2020, 697,000 people in the United States died from heart disease, which is one in every five deaths.
Legislator Pilip wanted to help create awareness for heart disease and she found Dr. Rahmani to help. When it comes to keeping your heart healthy, Dr. Rahmani recommends lifestyle modifications.
“A good diet with balanced exercise is important. Keeping in line with your risk factors, including high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes,” said Dr. Rahmani. “And maintaining a healthy weight; BMI (Body Mass Index) of less than 25, usually 20 to 25.”
Coronary heart disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease, killing 382,820 people in the U.S. in the year 2020. About two in 10 deaths from CAD happen in adults less than 65 years old, according to the CDC.
Both Legislator Pilip and Dr. Rahmani were surprised and happy that a wide age range of residents showed up to both the Great Neck and New Hyde Park seminars.
“It was a great turnout,” said Dr. Rahmani. “And I think there was a great response as well. Afterward, my office received a lot of phone calls and emails with questions.”
Dr. Rahmani’s seminars were detailed and engaging. Legislator Pilip said, “he really knew how to speak with them and took his time explaining and giving answers. The seminars were a success.”
While heart disease and heart health is personal to Lgislator Pilip, the great attendance, and follow-up from residents after the seminars, made her realize how much the community needed this.
“We, as elected officials, need to think outside of the box and do something a little extra,” said Legislator Pilip. “We need to make people aware, encourage them to go to doctors for checkups and let the doctor make the judgments.”
The seminar was free for District 10 residents to attend. With the success of both seminars, Legislator Pilip is excited to host the ‘Keep Your Heart Healthy’ seminars next year.
Although Heart Health Month is over, everyone is encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reach out to their doctors for tips and check-ups.