September 27, 2006

EH Symposium on Heart Disease

"Ninety-five percent of the cause of vascular and heart disease lies in a few things: cholesterol levels, sugar levels, blood pressure levels, weight, exercise and family history. And other than family history, every one of those is amenable to intervention by a patient," said Dr. Michael J. Wolk, a clinical professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York and the past president of the American College of Cardiology.

More than 71 million Americans have one form of cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to statistics from the American Heart Association. Diseases such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and strokes caused close to one million deaths in 2003, making CVD the single leading cause of death in the United States.

In an effort to address the growing problem presented by CVD, the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation will offer a Heart Health Symposium on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the East Hampton Village Emergency Services Building. New cardiovascular diagnostic technologies and therapies, as well as prevention and disease management will be discussed on panels and in lectures by some of the leaders in the field of cardiology. Short presentations will allow "a lot of room for interaction with the audience," said Wolk, who helped to organize the event.

Wolk will open the symposium with a lecture about the past, present and future of cardiology, and plans to talk about "the amazing changes in cardiology that have occurred in just one generation," he said. He will touch on the major strides that are being made in the field of genomic-based treatments. Innovations will allow doctors to "provide the right medicine for the right patient, and also be able to make to make diagnoses earlier in life," he added.

The symposium will also focus on the need for patients to take steps to prevent heart disease, through exercise, weight control and healthy eating.

The twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes, and the cardiovascular problems that go hand in hand, will put increasing strain on the U.S. health care system, Wolk said, thus necessitating a greater focus on preventive medicine. "We must move from intervening in patients who are very ill at a great expense to trying to prevent disease for millions upon millions of [people] at really modest or minimal expense," he noted.

The symposium will be held at the village Emergency Services building, 1 Cedar St. It is free, but space is limited. Call 324-8943 to register.

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