September 28, 2022

14,000 hearts at Billings Clinic: What you need to know about heart health | Brand Ave. Studios







Take care of your heart health so you can live life to the fullest.




The statistics on heart disease are staggering. Every day in the U.S., cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke combined) kills about 2,300 people. With obesity in youth and adults alike at an all-time high, more and more patients are being diagnosed with heart disease at younger ages.

That only underscores just how important it is that, if you are experiencing any heart attack symptoms or have any concerns about your heart health, you seek out appropriate care as soon as possible. Even with the ongoing pandemic, the heart care team at Billings Clinic is there to safely care for you, answer questions and help your heart health.

To put it into perspective, the American Heart Association also shares the following facts:

  • Heart disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined.    
  • 83% of Americans believe that heart attacks can be prevented, but aren’t motivated to do anything.
  • 72% of Americans don’t consider themselves at risk for heart disease.
  • 58% of Americans put no conscious effort into improving their heart health.

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Despite heart disease being the leading cause of death in America — it causes an estimated 1 in 4 deaths every year — knowing the facts about the disease and committing to a handful of simple lifestyle changes can make a world of difference in both prevention and management of heart disease year-round.

With American Heart Month coming to a close, it’s a great time to make sure you’re up to speed on the signs and symptoms of heart disease, as well as the key preventive strategies that can improve your overall heart health. 

At Billings Clinic — the largest independent health care system in a region that includes Montana, Wyoming and the western Dakotas — the expert team at the John R. Burg MD Cardiac Center is dedicated to helping raise awareness and continuing to provide a year-round complete heart care program for thousands of patients across the region. 

Billings Clinic has a long history of heart care innovation in the region, from performing Montana’s first open heart surgery in 1972 to recently celebrating 14,000 open-heart surgeries. In addition, Billings Clinic is known for being the region’s busiest transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program, complete with a full structural heart team and the ability to provide advanced procedures like the WATCHMAN atrial fibrillation procedure that is used to reduce the chance of stroke.

Knowing the signs

Knowing what to look out for is key so that you can respond appropriately if you or someone nearby is having a heart attack. Common symptoms include pain or discomfort in the chest; lightheadedness; nausea or vomiting; jaw, neck or back pain; discomfort or pain in the arm or shoulder; and shortness of breath. Keep in mind that, while chest pain is the most common symptom in both men and women, females are also more likely to see other common symptoms, including shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and pain in the back or jaw.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or feel that you are having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

Keeping your heart happy and healthy

Making sure you’re also living a heart-healthy lifestyle is the key to prevention. Pushing past or ignoring early symptoms of cardiovascular disease can be all too easy while we focus on work, family and other priorities in our day-to-day life.

An important tool is your primary care physician or cardiologist. Talking about heart health with a physician can help create a personalized plan that addresses any specific needs and goals. Prevention can go a long way toward maintaining heart health, and the cardiology team at Billings Clinic can help. For starters, they suggest the following:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit smoking or using other tobacco products and try to stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get active and eat healthy.

Not only do these steps help prevent heart disease, keeping a healthy weight and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels can also set a good example for others.

Doing all of these things is incredibly important not only for your own health, but for the health of the people around you. Your family and friends can pick up on what you’re doing and that makes a real difference. Promoting and living a heart-healthy lifestyle is good for everybody, and having the right care team behind you can help to ensure your success.

The robust heart care program at Billings Clinic includes an experienced team of cardiologists, surgeons, technologists, nurses and more. Our team has access to cutting-edge technology and procedures available nowhere else in the multi-state area, as well as other resources to provide comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation to our patients. Billings Clinic is the highest volume heart center in the state and is an accredited American College of Cardiology Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation.

For more information on Billings Clinic and its heart care program, call 406-238-2000 or visit billingsclinic.com/heart.

This content is provided for informational purposes only by Billings Clinic and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider for medical advice. Any views, thoughts or opinions in this paid post belong solely to Billings Clinic and do not represent the views of Brand Ave. Studios or its parent company.

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