Preventive Cardiology — How to lessen your risk for heart surgery

"In the past ten years, we have been emphasizing prevention for many forms of heart disease,” says Dr. Edward Schuster, Assistant Clinical Professor of Cardiology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. "With a healthy diet, no smoking and proper medication, we have cut the death rate from coronary events by 50 percent. In Fairfield County, where Columbia has an affiliate hospital, this figure has dropped by an impressive 80 percent, indicating that lifestyle changes can have a big effect." 

This is important information, since heart disease is now the number one killer of men and women in the United States.

Studies show that preventative cardiology can reduce the need for cardiac bypass surgery, stents, and aneurysm repair in most people, Dr. Schuster explains, but does not lower the risk of valvular heart disease.

The good news is that you don't have to sign up for a draconian diet, or become a marathon runner to improve your heart health. Dr. Schuster's patients make gains with manageable changes: they enjoy Mediterranean meals, engage in moderate exercise, learn how to lower their cholesterol, and stop smoking.

Medications can reduce the risk of heart disease. “Everyone should know what their bad cholesterol (LDL) is, and how to lower it.  Those who can't take statins may be helped by red yeast rice," says Dr. Schuster. "We spend a lot of time listening to our patients,” he adds, “then target our recommendations to their specific goals and needs.

Men and women over 40 often seek out Dr. Schuster's expertise as they approach the age that their parents succumbed to heart disease. "A father may have had a heart attack or bypass surgery at this stage of life," Dr. Schuster notes, "Now the son or daughter wants to be proactive and is willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes to promote cardiac health. We can help." 

Dr. Schuster also oversees the cardiac rehabilitation program for patients who have had bypass surgery, stents or valves. "Preventive strategies may also be useful at this stage to help the arteries and heart stay healthy. It's never too late to start good habits."

Columbia's Preventive Cardiology services include onsite lab tests and cardiac testing with same day results, followed by physician consults, diet and exercise counseling. This comprehensive approach is offered at two convenient locations,  at 635 Madison Avenue in Manhattan and in Stamford, Connecticut.

To make an appointment in New York, call 212.857.4954 and in Stamford, call 203.276.2323.
For more information and the Dr. Schuster’s complete list of "How to Live to be 100" see