Modern Medicine: Heart Healthy Lifestyle - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Modern Medicine: Heart Healthy Lifestyle

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Panama City, Fla. -

Medical professionals are saying that medications and surgical procedures are not the only ways to prevent heart attacks.  They are now working to change habits.

Bill Zahler is an avid runner and never thought he would have heart issues.  He told News 13 that after finishing a marathon, he "...took five steps and had a major heart attack and stroke." 

"I didn't think the nutrition part applied to me, and I was eating a lot of garbage, a lot of grilled cheese and hot dogs and hamburgers...anything I wanted," Zahler explained.

Registered Dietician Cindy Shipman says nutrition plays a large role in heart health. 

"If you eat the true Southern diet, you probably eat butter, bacon, sausage, fried foods, cheese, whole milk, and ice cream.  If you could eliminate those things from your diet, you could make remarkable strides in becoming healthier as far as your heart goes," Shipman suggested. 

Zahler completely changed his diet by adding plenty of fruits and vegetables without added fats.

He said, "After you spend three days in a coma in ICU, it kind of gets your attention."

Shipman encourages everyone to make changes before a major health issue strikes.

Zahler says he now feels healthy with plenty of energy and is continuing to enjoy running. 

Bay Medical-Sacred Heart is trying to get the message out through a free Heart Health Fair.  The fair will be on Saturday, January 19th from 9 a.m. until noon in the hospital's lobby and Garden Cafe.  There will be a seminar with Dr. Michael Stokes about enjoying heart healthy Southern cooking and free screenings for cholesterol and glucose, among other tests.  To reserve a spot, call 747-6541.