Man pedals his way to good health thanks to preventive cardiology program

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich-- Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer across the nation. It's something many of us stress over, but there's a program aiming to prevent strokes and heart attacks.

On Monday, FOX 17 talked to Jeffrey Saint, 55, who is out of the hospital, recovering from a clogged artery, now peddling his way back to good health.

"I had pain in both arms from the elbows up to the shoulders," he said. "It felt like someone was literally trying to blow up a balloon in my chest."

Saint now finds himself on a treadmill three times a week, for an hour at a time,  after heart complications nearly took his life.

The Spectrum Health Cardiac Rehabilitation Clinic is helping Saint during the recovery process as he works to strengthen his heart with the help of doctors, dietitians, psychologists and exercise specialists.

One of the biggest changes he's noticed is the weight loss he's managed to lose over the past 2 months.

"I have lost, so far, just over 30 pounds," Saint said.

Working out used to be the last thing on his mind.

"We’re somewhat in control of our own lives and I wasn’t taking very good care of myself," he said. "Once I had that awareness, lets just say. I don’t want to be back for a second tour," Saint admitted.

Thomas Boyden is the medical director for Preventative Cardiology at Spectrum Health. FOX 17 talked to him this week.

"Exercise is really driving your risk for heart attack and stroke down as much as medication if not more," said Boyden.

Experts said the program begins 2 to 4 weeks after a patient leaves the hospital. The rehabilitation program can last 6 to 12 weeks and mostly impacts  patients dealing with a major cardiovascular episodes or treatment.

The program is often covered by insurance, but you do need a doctor's referral.

"The progress I’ve made through the program here and through the advice from the staff and changes I’ve taken responsibility...I don’t want to say a different person, but the person I was supposed to be all along," Saint said.

Click here for more information about the preventive program.

Thursday, February 18th, there will be an Interactive Preventive Cardiology Clinic starting at 5:30.

Learn hands only CPR elements to prevention and speak directly with physicians.

Event doors open at 6:15, dinner at 6:30 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Seating is limited.

To register visit shmg.org/events or call 616.267.2626

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