The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

February 21, 2013

Illinois hospital gets heart patients back on track

STERLING, Ill. — With the help of CGH Medical Center doctors, nurses and Leanne Blase, congestive heart failure program coordinator, Ed Mulderink, of Fulton, Ill., is one of many heart patients who is getting his life back on track.

When patients are hospitalized and diagnosed with congestive heart failure, CGH Medical Center springs into action with educational tools and preventative measures to help its patients live independently on their own at home. The hospital’s goal, according to Blase, is to reduce the number of readmissions to the hospital. By equipping patients with the proper tools and knowledge, Blase said the program has produced many success stories.

“It’s very encouraging. The successes outnumber those who continue to come back,” she said.

Mulderink is one of those success stories. When it came down to learning about his condition and ways to improve his life, he took everything the doctors, nurses and Blase had to say to heart.

“They are a dedicated bunch. Thank you doesn’t seem like enough for what they did for me. The knowledge they give people is power whether they choose to use it or not,” he said.

Contrary to common belief, congestive heart failure can happen at any age; it is not a disease just for the elderly. Blase has seen patients from one age spectrum to the other. She has seen patients with congestive heart failure in their 20s and 30s to the oldest at age 100.

“Shortness of breath over a long period of time can be hard to diagnose with the young. Any strain or stress on the heart can cause heart failure to develop,” she said.

However a patient’s success hinges on their ability to follow through with the program, which instructs a patient on following through with the proper medication, diet, activity and exercise and living a lifestyle filled with healthy habits.

Blase said changing one’s lifestyle can be difficult if they have never been one to read food labels. Through follow-up phone calls, Blase offers encouragement to patients.

“They have to think about everything they put in their mouth,” she said.

For congestive heart failure patients, it is important to decrease the amount of sodium they consume daily. According to CGH Medical Center literature concerning congestive heart failure, sodium attracts water and makes the body hold fluid so that the heart works harder to pump the added fluid. So, it is pertinent that individuals with heart failure limit their sodium intake to no more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium per day, which translates into 1 teaspoon of salt.

The amount of sodium added to foods Blase said is “shocking” and that is why reading labels is so important. Even if a package says its healthy, it may really not be. Blase has to remind patients to check everything — even condiments, which are especially high sodium. By reading the fine print, individuals can find what is really hidden inside their food. One way to add taste instead of unneeded amounts of sodium is to use pure herbs and spices.

“The eating aspect (of the limited sodium diet) is the hardest thing and looking at the labels. I’ve met and seen people who season their food before they taste it. It is the hardest lifestyle change for them. (Limiting sodium) Prevents swelling in the feet and eases breathing — it makes the attempt worthwhile. I try to inspire them to follow a low-sodium diet,” she said.

Mulderink can attest to the fact that eating differently can be very challenging at first, but is doable. Reading food labels has been an important key to keeping off unneeded fluid in his body. One of the changes Mulderink and his wife, Phyllis, made was switching from canned vegetables to frozen ones. And at first it took a while for his pallette to adjust.

“I’m more sensitive to processed foods than I used to be. I can taste the salt,” he said.

As Mulderink continues to watch what he eats, he also keeps a daily diary documenting how he feels, his weight and what he eats. With each passing day, he is learning what works and what doesn’t.

“Once you know your habits, you can pretty much self-regulate yourself. If you’re going to cheat on things, you’re only cheating yourself,” he said.

Even though Mulderink isn’t back to feeling 100 percent, he has seen a lot of improvement with his change of diet, pacemaker and medications.

“I don’t have the balance and stamina that I had prior to this, but I feel like a plastic curtain has been lifted. I feel more encouraged to try things and my balance is coming back,”

For Mulderink, the information CGH provided to him through the program has been invaluable.

“You take little steps and hopefully you are successful and get stronger. The success of the program depends on you,” he said.

One key factor in making CGH’s program a success, is the regular contact Blase keeps with patients.

“People are very appreciative of the phone calls. The majority of people are more than willing to learn if its going to make them feel better. Education is key. It is a nationwide effort when it comes reducing readmissions with congestive heart failure,” Blase said.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Inmate charged in Rockford lawyer's 2008 death

    Murder charges were announced Wednesday against the one-time client of a Rockford attorney who was fatally shot while clearing snow from his driveway in 2008.

    Winnebago County State's Attorney Joe Bruscato said a grand jury has indicted Richard E. Wanke Jr., 53, on charges of first-degree murder in the death of Gregory H. Clark, 60. Wanke was arrested Wednesday at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, where he has been serving a 14-year sentence on burglary charges with a projected parole date of May 7.

    April 16, 2014

  • Despite ruling, Iowa to bar all felons from voting

    Elections officials will continue to bar felons from voting despite an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that suggests not all of them have lost their voting rights.

    Three justices ruled Tuesday that only some felonies are considered "infamous crimes" under the Iowa Constitution that bar individuals from voting or holding office.

    April 16, 2014

  • Branstad's tax return shows income of $234,907

    Gov. Terry Branstad released his tax returns Wednesday, showing he earned $234,907 and paid $28,298 in federal taxes in 2013.

    The governor and his wife paid $32,085 in federal taxes but are getting a refund of $3,787. Their state tax return shows they paid in $10,285 in taxes but will get a refund of $4,158. In addition the governor and first lady each received $54 back from the Legislature as all Iowa taxpayers did making their total Iowa tax bill $6,235.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Jenny McCarthy announces engagement on 'The View'

    Jenny McCarthy had big news to share Wednesday on "The View": She's engaged to Donnie Wahlberg.

    McCarthy raised her hidden left hand from behind the desk, revealing an engagement ring.

    April 16, 2014

  • Iran cuts nuke weapons ability

    The United Nations will release a report this week certifying that Iran's ability to make a nuclear bomb has been greatly reduced because it has diluted half of its material that can be turned most quickly into weapons-grade uranium, diplomats said Tuesday.

    April 16, 2014

  • 283 missing, 4 dead in South Korea ferry disaster

    A ferry carrying 462 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea's southern coast on Wednesday, leaving more than 280 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters. At least four people were confirmed dead and 55 injured.

    April 16, 2014

  • NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat

    NATO is strengthening its military footprint along its eastern border immediately in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, the alliance's chief said Wednesday.

    Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO's air policing aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region west of Ukraine, far from the tensions in the eastern part of the country. He said allied warships will also deploy to the Baltic Sea, the eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere if needed.

    April 16, 2014

  • Police: Utah woman gave birth at home

    A Utah woman accused of concealing seven pregnancies before strangling or suffocating her newborns gave birth each time in her home, authorities said Wednesday.

    Investigators have determined that Megan Huntsman, 39, did not go to a hospital to have the babies, Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Mike Roberts said. He didn't say if anybody helped her give birth.

    April 16, 2014

  • Illinois trooper charged for roadside strip search

    A southwestern Illinois state trooper is facing a felony aggravated battery charge after authorities say he strip-searched a man along the side of a road during a traffic stop.

    The (Belleville) News-Democrat reports 32-year-old Cory Alberson was released on $20,000 bail on Monday after he pleaded not guilty.

    April 16, 2014

AP Video