ARH brings cardiac care to Barbourville

The days of driving one hour or more one way for cardiology diagnostics and care are over. That’s because of Appalachian Regional Healthcare’s (ARH) efforts to bring invasive cardiologists to Barbourville and Middlesboro ARH hospitals. Dr. Ehtesham Ul Haq, the company’s newest invasive cardiologist, spoke about the risks and warning signs of heart disease and treatment options available to Knox patients at the January 30 Knox County Chamber of Commerce meeting.

“Before, [patients] used to travel to Knoxville to get echocardiograms, which is not even a 30-minute test, and its three hours of driving. Just think about it. Simple stress testing takes approximately 10 minutes,” explained Dr. Haq. “How convenient is it for the patients to get everything done locally. They don’t have to travel and its less expensive because of course they don’t have to drive. Some people, they just can’t transport. There’s just no way for them to get to the bigger city to get things done. So, overall, yes, we have heard a lot of positive feedback from the patients and providers both.”

Dr. Haq works primarily at Middlesboro ARH and travels to Barbourville ARH on Tuesdays. Cardiac services offered through ARH include EKGs, echocardiograms, ambulatory EKGs and cardiac stress tests.

According to Dr. Haq, those at a higher risk for heart disease includes anyone over age 55, those with personal history of coronary heart disease, those with hypertension or diabetes, the obese, and anyone who smokes. Common symptoms of heart disease are chest pain, shortness of breath, left arm or jaw pain, abnormal heart rhythm and a burning sensation in the chest.

Ways Dr. Haq discussed for people to lower their chances of heart disease are to stop smoking, treat high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol issues, lose weight, exercise 30 minutes three to five times a week, change your diet and treat sleep apnea.

Also discussed at the Chamber meeting was Union College’s new Boys and Girls Club. The program is open to children ages 6 through 13 and meets Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. in Conference Room ABC in the college’s Student Center. Children receive homework help, sports and recreation, mentoring and internet and technology access. For more information, call 546-1719.