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Beating and Breathing: The Basics
Struggling to walk to your mailbox, leaning on your shopping cart for support, and experiencing shortness of breath are all signs that you may be developing heart or lung conditions, says Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) cardiologist Anthony Burke, DO, FACC, FASNC. Don’t dismiss changes in your everyday activities. Here’s what you need to know about your heart and lung health and when it’s time to visit your doctor.

Dr. Burke explained that “high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking are the main risk factors for heart complications.” For lungs, “we see a high incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and high blood pressure in the lungs.” Among older individuals, “we most commonly see an increase in abnormal heart rhythms. Chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, and anything new like weakness and fatigue are all signs that you need to visit your doctor.”

If you’re experiencing a change in your daily life, first visit your doctor. They may refer you to a cardiologist who will run tests to determine if you need to receive further treatment. If you are diagnosed with a heart or lung disorder, they may recommend an individualized rehab program with the TRMC’s Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Wellness Center after your treatment is completed.

The therapists at TRMC want you to feel what it’s like to breathe easy. Rehab is an easy way to build strength and get back to enjoying your life. “The goal of this center is to not only improve a patient’s status when they enroll in the program, but to put them on a pathway to success so they can take that knowledge home and continue to grow and improve outside of our rehab facility.” The individualized rehab program offers the following exercise options to help you recover:

• Nu-Steps
• Stationary cycles
• Treadmill
• Stair-stepper
• Recumbent bikes
• Upper body cycles
• Elliptical
• Weight training

The Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Wellness Center also offers classes that walk you through how to make healthy choices in your everyday life from diet to fitness.
Visit to learn more about Tift Regional Medical Center’s cardiovascular specialists and the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Wellness Center.