By Maddy PUMILIA
Glendale Memorial Hospital hosted its 18th annual King and Queen of Hearts event at the hospital’s Cardiac Fitness Center, honoring cardiac fitness patients who chose to make lifestyle changes and now are mentors to other patients.
There were five people honored: Junior Queen Judy Hernand, Junior King Arpiar Abramyan, Senior King Mark Markarian, Senior Queen Madge Vose and Young at Heart Burton Sternau.
“It’s a great honor,” Abramyan said. “I’m happy and grateful to all the staff at Glendale Memorial.”
Thirty-two-year-old Abramyan had a heart transplant in October 2011. He said the Cardiac Fitness Center’s program helped him in pre-surgery to lose the weight and post-surgery to recover from the surgery. He was 315 pounds and now weighs 210. He works out three times a week.
“Even if you aren’t diagnosed with any kind of disease, it’s better to exercise,” Abramyan said. “But if you are a patient, it is a great idea to come in and exercise and be healthy.”
Vose had a heart attack a couple years ago. She does exercises that the nurses tell her to do.
“[People who just had a heart attack] should see their doctor about getting admitted to the program and follow it through,” Vose said.
“[The Cardiac Fitness Center] helped me so much with support and assistance during the recovery of my heart attack,” Hernand said. “If it wasn’t for all of their information and support that they give us and direction, I would not be here today leading a normal heart healthy life.”
Participants were awarded a certificate signed by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a crown, a stuffed animal and a shift.
“They really help inspire and support other patients who come through,” Michelle Galanti, the manager of Cardiac Fitness, EKG and Echocardiology, said. “They’ve been through the main cardiac rehab program and continued on with the maintenance exercise.”
Dr. Lawrence O’Connor, the center’s medical director, gave the “State of the Heart” address when he discussed advancements in cardiology in the past year. He discussed a vascular stent that is coming out soon that can help older patients. In addition, he discussed a study on the Mediterranean diet. According to the study, a Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of stroke 30-to-40%. The diet consists of 7 F’s: fish, fowl, filet mignon, fresh vegetables, fruit, a flask of red wine, a flask of olive oil and a fist full of nuts. No bread, no baked goods and no pasta.
The hospital also offered screenings to the community at the event, so people could find out if they have risk factors associated with heart disease and learn what the risks are.