The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


February 13, 2014

American Heart Month: Promoting healthy lifestyles

CLINTON — Heart failure affects more than 550,000 Americans each year and many of the causes behind heart failure can, more often than not, be prevented.

Some of the more common causes are things like high blood pressure, Coronary Artery Disease, diabetes, Valvular Heart Disease and obesity to name a few and, while there are several genetic conditions that cannot be prevented, many small life changes can stop a heart health emergency in its tracks.

This is why the nurses and staff at Genesis Visiting Nurses and Hospice and other medical facilities in Clinton have developed an initiative to promote healthy lifestyles for area residents of all ages.

“When you look at the statistics, heart disease just doesn’t affect the middle ged and the elderly anymore; it starts with the kids,” Genesis Community Health Manager Michele Cullen said. “When our county health rankings came out (last year), Clinton County scored very low in our health outcomes (ranking) 86 of 99. But, then really in terms of healthy behaviors, we ranked 99 out of 99. That’s really what started this whole thing.”

Because of those low-ranking health statistics, Cullen and other health professionals in the area started the “Let’s Live Healthy Clinton!” campaign.

It is designed to promote healthy behavior in all people of Clinton, as well as compel local organizations to develop policies that advocate healthy living.

“Let’s Live Healthy Clinton!’ is a whole group of community partners,” Cullen said. “And I think there’s a lot of interest out there and that’s why we want to get out with what I call some quick wins. They’re preventative things and helpful things that aren’t costing anybody any money.”

And while boosting heart health and healthful behavior in the community is the number one priority for Cullen and the “Let’s Live Heathy Clinton!” team, heart failure can still be a commonplace occurrence and after-care is an inevitable proceeding.

Which is where the visiting nurses of the Genesis health system come in.

Along with offering skilled care to patients who’ve experienced a heart crisis, such as a heart attack or heart failure, the number one role the Genesis Visiting Nurses play is that of educators.

“Education is huge. It’s so, they (patients) know what they’re doing that’s causing some of their (health concerns) or what they’re doing that’s going to make them better,” Nursing supervisor Noreen Johnson said. “Everybody should be accountable to themselves and they can be more accountable when they’re educated.”

Some of the tools the visiting nurses offer include informational pamphlets with quick tips on staying active, dietary plans that reduce the risks of heart emergencies, education on the different types of heart failure and daily tricks that can help lead to a speedy recovery.

According to the Genesis guide for living with heart failure, there are six steps for heart patients to keep themselves happy, healthy and hospital free.

The first step is to take the medication prescribed by the doctor following a heart event, a simple task that Johnson says can be one of the hardest to put into perspective.

“We do a lot of medication education because if they understand what their pills are doing for them, they might not skip them,” Johnson said. “If you’re taking a diuretic pill then you should take it. It is important to the recovery process.”

Other major areas where Genesis home health nurses focus their education on is, diet and exercise. It is highly encouraged that patients of heart failure or other heart events get regular exercise during the recovery process.

That could mean walking around the inside of the house, going out to get the mail or even walking to the end of the block. One important aspect Johnson reminds her patients is that exercise should be done in slow, incremental steps.

“We talk about taking their tasks incrementally, in steps, because if they get exhausted or short of breath we need to take a step back. It’s OK to take a rest,” Johnson said. “If they’re going to exercise after surgery they need to start slow. And then after a couple of days maybe increase it. Slow, incremental steps is very important to achieve their goals.”

And setting goals is something both Johnson and Cullen encourage for not only patients who have suffered from a health condition, but also those who are looking to get healthy and stay healthy.

Those small steps could mean the difference between joining the “Let’s Live Healthy Clinton!” challenge, or receiving care from the visiting nurses of Genesis after a heart event has already happened.


Text Only
  • Choral group marks 10th anniversary CLINTON -- A Clinton choral group will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend. RiverChor will celebrate the anniversary at 2 p.m. Sunday at Zion Lutheran Church. The concert is free, but donations will be accepted. A reception will be held in th

    April 21, 2014

  • Camanche to host citywide garage sales CAMANCHE -- St. Mark's United Methodist Church will organize citywide garage sales scheduled for May 2 and 3. Those wishing to participate and have their garage sale listed in the advertising may obtain forms at Clinton National Bank, Citizens First

    April 24, 2014

  • Bald eagles Britton to present on lead effects MAQUOKETA -- A National Wildlife Refuge manager will present a program on lead's effects on bald eagles. Ed Britton, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge manager, will deliver the presentation at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4, at Hurstville Interpretive Center in Ma

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Spring flea market is April 27 MAQUOKETA -- The annual Spring Flea Market, Antique, and Collectible Show will be Sunday, April 27, at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Maquoketa. The show has been in existence for 27 years and is one of Iowa's largest shows with more than 150 sell

    April 24, 2014

  • Human trafficking Stickers highlight human trafficking CLINTON -- Area establishments are receiving added decor this week thanks to an anti-trafficking committee. Sisters of St. Francis Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking Anti-Trafficking committee members are placing stickers in local establis

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • Calling all munchkins CLINTON -- The Clinton Area Showboat Theatre is looking for munchkins. Local auditions will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, May 19, at the Showboat for munchkins in the upcoming "The Wizard of Oz" performance. Munchkins may be of any age as long as

    April 22, 2014

  • St. Paul grants Church awards grants

    CLINTON -- An area church recently awarded area organizations with grants. The Bickelhaupt Arboretum, the Felix Adler Children's Discovery Center, First Circle Friends, YWCA, Voices for the Land/Monarch Teacher Network and Haley Westerkamp were grant

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • On Iowa program selects Clinton residents CLINTON -- Four Clinton residents recently were named On Iowa student leaders. Keaton Fuller, Jacinta Jargo, Kenya Lewis and Allyson Naeve were among 235 people selected to serve as welcomers to new first-year and transfer students at the University

    April 22, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Clinton Herald Photos

Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.


Should the city of Clinton appeal the open records violation ruling that will cost taxpayers $40,600?

     View Results
AP Video
Olympics 2014
Featured Comment
Featured Ads
Blue Zones Project

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.