Your Cardiovascular Wellness

As a program of Heart Hospital of Lafayette, HEARTVantage is committed to increasing awareness about heart disease, educating you about prevention and giving you the tools to stay heart healthy. In this section of our site you'll find tips about the prevention of heart disease, nutrition & exercise and how to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack. We've also provided you with information about after care for cardiac patients, links to other helpful educational web sites and frequently asked questions. It's all part of our efforts to help you live life to the fullest in the best of health.

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Prevention of heart disease is one of the cornerstones of the HEARTVantage program. We're here to help you adopt the kind of healthy habits and lifestyle that can keep your heart healthy for life. Two of the keys to prevention are regular exercise and heart-healthy eating. HEARTVantage provides various classes and educational tools to help you with both of these goals. In addition, it is important to get regular physical checkups from your doctor and to undergo regular health screenings.

We would also like to share with you the Simple 7 Action Plan — a seven-step list developed by the American Heart Association with the goal of improving overall health to help you live a longer, healthier life.

  1. Eat Better
  2. Stop Smoking
  3. Manage Blood Pressure
  4. Get Active
  5. Lose Weight
  6. Control Cholesterol
  7. Reduce Blood Sugar

Exercise and Nutrition

While good nutrition is essential to the recovery and well-being of heart patients, it is also something that all of us need in order to prevent heart disease and stay healthy in general. Some of the most basic rules of heart healthy eating include limiting salt in your diet, eating more fruits and vegetables, and eating leaner meats. People who are diabetic or suffer from high blood pressure must be even more careful about what they eat. HEARTVantage offers many classes that address various aspects of nutrition, including how to eat heart healthy while still keeping your meals satisfying and delicious

Exercise may be the single most important aspect to maintain heart health and prevent heart disease. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends an exercise regimen of three to five days each week, and 30 - 45 minutes per exercise session, to maintain heart health. There are many different exercises you can choose from — walking, jogging, biking, swimming — depending upon your age and physical condition. Regular exercise will improve your heart health, your overall health, and help you control your weight. HEARTVantage offers many classes that address various aspects of exercise for better health.


It is essential that patients who have been diagnosed with heart disease receive proper after care. While Cardiac Rehabilitation is recommended in the most serious cases, it is important for all patients to follow a few essential guidelines. These include routine follow-up visits to your physician; appropriate routine exercise; consulting with a dietician to develop heart-healthy eating habits; and regular cholesterol screenings and other health screenings. HEARTVantage offers you many resources to help keep you motivated to live heart-healthy. To read more about cardiac rehab click here.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most of them start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Here are signs provided by the American Heart Association that can mean a heart attack is happening.

  • Chest Discomfort: Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in Other Areas of the Upper Body: Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of Breath: This feeling often comes along with chest discomfort; but it can occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other Signs: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

If you or someone you're with has one or more of these signs, call 9-1-1. Get to the hospital right away!

If you're the one having the symptoms, and you can't access the emergency medical services (EMS), have someone drive you to the hospital right away. Don't drive yourself, unless you have absolutely no other option.