Heritage Healthcare Center For Cardiovascular Risk Reduction and Diabetes
The Heritage HealthCare for Cardiovascular, Risk Reduction and Diabetes is completely dedicated to helping patients improve their heart and vascular health. Our team includes a group of physicians and outside specialists that focus on controlling your blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors such as inflammation. We also partner with nurse educators and other clinicians to help you manage your diet and make other lifestyle changes that are beneficial to your health.
The Heritage HealthCare Center for Cardiovascular, Risk Reduction and Diabetes understands that patients with diabetes are two, three or even four times more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke. For some people, the risk is even higher, especially if someone smokes or has an inflammatory disease such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
That’s why we work hard to help our patients lower their risk for developing heart disease and stroke. And, the good news is that lifestyle changes and the right medications can help put people back on track.
What to Expect
The first step in reducing the risk of heart disease is to reflect on your life, and, decide on what you want your future to look like. Many of our patients can greatly reduce their risk of heart disease and diabetes simply by changing their diet and starting a regular exercise program. To help, we partner with physicians and other clinicians to encourage realistic changes. We understand that changing your life is a huge project, but we’ll recommend an approach that’s doable and sets patients up for success.
Can you prevent a heart attack and stroke?
The answer is “Yes”, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk. In medicine, we call this cardiovascular risk reduction.
Where do you begin?
If you smoke, stop. Easier said than done. There are medications that can help you stop such as nicotine patches, nicotine lozenges, nicotine gum, Wellbutrin and Chantix. One of our providers can prescribe these medications for you. Sometimes, talk therapy with one of our social workers can help you cope with your cravings. It is not easy but you can do it.
If you have high blood pressure, take your medications. Your blood pressure goal should be 130/70. Ask your Heritage provider for a prescription for a home blood pressure monitor so that you can track your pressures at home.
Know your cholesterol level. There is not just one cholesterol. Like so many other things in our body, it is complicated. There is “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and “good cholesterol” (HDL) and everything in-between. If your LDL is high, there are medications that bring it down. These medications, called statins, have been shown in many studies to decrease your cardiovascular risk. In other words, statins decrease your risk for a future heart and stroke.
If you have diabetes, control your sugars. Your Heritage provider has probably prescribed a home glucose monitor. Check your sugars, and eat a healthy diet. Avoid sodas, candy, cookies, and cake. Eat starches in moderation. Starches include plantains, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and so on. When in doubt or for a little motivation come see one of our Heritage providers. They will point you in the right direction.
Walk! Exercise is good for your heart. There is no need to run a marathon. If you are overweight or obese, lose weight. Many of you have an eating disorder.
The American Heart Association recommends that we walk one hour, 5 days a week. That might be too ambitious for most of us. If one hour is too much for you, aim for 30 minutes, 10 minutes, or whatever you can do. If you are just starting out, simply walk around the block a couple of times at your own pace. Work your way up from there: the first week you walk one block, then 2 blocks, then 10 blocks.
Walk with a friend so that you can motivate each other, and improve your health together.
If you are just starting out on a walking regimen, don’t overdo it! If you have trouble breathing or have chest pain when you walk, STOP! This is not a good sign. Please come see one of our Heritage providers ASAP for an evaluation.
Have your teeth cleaned. You might think it very odd that seeing the dentist to clean your teeth on a regular basis could be good for your heart! Cardiovascular disease is an inflammatory disease. Any inflammation in your body, including inflamed gums, increases you risk of heart attacks and strokes. Our Heritage dentists and dental hygienists are excellent. Make an appointment ASAP to keep your gums, teeth and heart healthy.
If you are overweight or obese, lose weight! Easier said than done. Food is a complicated situation. We need to eat, but why do we eat so much? Sometimes obesity is a family affair and everyone in the family needs to change their lifestyle together. Some people have emotional eating, that is, people eat because they are nervous or depressed. Talk therapy can help. Ask your Heritage provider to refer you to one of our social workers for therapy.
Our combination of education and emotional support helps our patients avoid long-term complications from diabetes. With the proper education and support, you can take control of your situation so that you, can a lead full, healthy and productive life.
We are passionate about keeping your heart healthy.
Dr. Danielle Milano, MD, Chief of Medical Affairs
Danielle Milano, M.D., joined Heritage as our new Chief of Medical Affairs in February of 2020. She brings with her thirty years of experience as an Internist and HIV specialist and is responsible for program development and instituting new quality programs at Heritage for HIV, diabetes and hypertension.
A long-time New York resident, Dr. Milano graduated from New York University School of Medicine, completed her internship at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and her residency at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. Dr. Danielle Milano has been board certified in Internal Medicine since 1990, and is an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the Mount Sinai Hospital and Medical Center.
Dr. Olga Wildfeuer
Dr. Olga Wildfeuer joined our organization on April 4, 2020 and is triple board certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and HIV Medicine.
Dr. Olga Wildfeuer who has trained and worked as a Nursing Assistant, Registered Nurse, and now as a Medical Doctor is permitted by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to prescribe Suboxone for persons who are affected by opioid addiction.
Dr. Olga Wildfeuer life’s work can be characterized by the way she cares for the needs of others, within the parameters and scope of the different communities and societies she has lived and whom we serve.
Dr. Vanessa Fernandez M.D.
Dr. Vanessa Fernandez joined Heritage HealthCare Center as a bilingual board certified Family Medicine Physician in November of 2019. Dr. Fernandez completed her residency at Hoboken University Medical Center. She is passionate about preventive care and quality relationships with patients. Dr. Fernandez believes in helping her patients create effective lifestyle strategies that will eliminate or reduce certain risk factors. Dr. Fernandez favorite hobbies include hiking, biking and eating all types of cuisines.