It’s been seven years since Al Manuel’s last bypass surgery.
He knows the only way to keep that number growing is through maintenance – cardio pulmonary wellness, so to speak.
He’s had the typical doctor’s advice, change of diet, change of habits. But recently his heart maintenance received a very practical boost.
Manuel has just completed the 12-week Cardio Pulmonary Wellness Program at the Comox Community Centre – a customized program for cardio patients that identifies the parameters of their cardio capacity, and sets up activity levels within those boundaries.
“The best thing about this program is that now I have a better idea of what I can do, in terms of challenging myself,” he said. “This program really offers some guidance, particularly in what I do from a physical standpoint.”
Sarah Wright, a certified clinical exercise specialist who leads the program, said the concept of the Cardio Pulmonary Wellness Program is simple.
“It’s just to improve people’s quality of life,” she said. “We want to give people the tools to self manage and be more active, be more healthy, and better able to cope with things that come up along the way.
“The 12 weeks is a substantial time, so it usually helps people get past some sort of stumbling block, and lets them learn how to manage themselves.”
The Cardio Pulmonary Program is an example of the funds raised at the First Open Heart Walk for Hearts Walkathon at work within the Comox Valley community.
Manuel is a member of the Comox Valley Chapter of the First Open Heart Society of BC. The ninth annual Walk For Hearts Walkathon takes place Sunday, May 3 along the Courtenay estuary.
Funds raised at the walk remain in the community, to help with programs such as the CP Wellness Program. The First Open Heart Society helped fund the pilot project for the Wellness Program, and remains a partner in the program, with ongoing equipment contributions, as well as subsidizing low-income clientele.
Heart disease prevalent in the Valley
Heart disease and cardio pulmonary issues in general are more prevalent in the Comox Valley than most people realize.
According to the BC Ministry of Health Services Primary Health Care Chronic Disease Registries, the Comox Valley has a yearly average of 2.2 per cent of its population (more than 1,400 residents) experiencing Congestive Heart Failure with about 10 per cent of these individuals requiring an emergency department visit due to symptoms and exacerbation of their disease.
The numbers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are even higher, with 2.7 per cent of the Comox Valley population affected.
The Canadian Lung Association reports that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the most common chronic lung disease – is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada.
The Comox Valley Chapter of the First Open Heart Society is a support group for anyone who has had a heart procedure, is about to undergo a heart procedure, or has any concerns with regards to problems related to the heart along with their spouses.
The May 3 Walk For Hearts Walkathon begins at the Filberg Centre, follows a route around the airpark and back to the Filberg.
All funds raised stay in the Comox Valley and will be targeted to help support Cardiac Care initiatives at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox.
The First Open Heart Walk For Hearts Walkathon has raised in excess of $55,000 in its first eight years.
For more information, and pledge sheets, call 250-339-5349 or 250-335-1751.