Cardiac Health: a Cornerstone for HWR’s Daniel Pilarski
Daniel Pilarski has a deep commitment to educating his peers on cardiac health. His family health history influences his present day, and in turn, colors in his future. Heart disease has had a deep impact on his life, and he is dedicated to sharing his journey with his friends and colleagues.
When Daniel was 17 years old, his dad died of a massive coronary. The loss was sudden and came without warning, as his dad never complained of any problems or symptoms. For Daniel, the experience was difficult to process and grieve.
Heart disease runs rampant through Daniel’s family history and has played a significant factor in the deaths of his family members. His grandfather suffered from three heart attacks and his mother just had triple bypass surgery this year. Daniel’s dad was 50 years old when he passed away. At age 42, with two daughters and a diagnosis of coronary artery disease, Daniel is doing everything possible to avoid a similar outcome.
“People need to look at prevention,” he says. “My dad’s death could have been prevented. He never went to the doctor. He worked hard and put his family first, but he never sought out any help.”
Daniel suggests that while it’s important to find a doctor who can answer questions, it’s also important to be open with your physician about questions and concerns. If you are hesitant to have these conversations with your current primary care provider, it may be best to find one you are more comfortable with. This could take time and patience, and perhaps a further travel time, but it is worth the investment you are making into your health.
From there, you and your provider can work side by side on various diagnostic tests and exams. This can include blood pressure screenings, stress tests, fasting lipids panels, and much more depending on your individual health. Interventions may include lifestyle adjustments in diet and exercise, but there also may be some pharmaceutical interventions as well. Everyone is different, and while you may know someone who needs to take a prescription to lower their cholesterol, that may not be the case for you.
“It doesn’t have to be these significant, sweeping changes,” Daniel notes. “Human beings don’t work that way. You can make small, manageable changes and evaluate your life as you go. Even something as simple as getting a pedometer and walking so many steps a day is a good starting point.”
Making sure that you are attending regular checkups with your doctor can also keep the conversation moving. This step is important regardless of age and lifestyle. Don’t wait until you start having symptoms to talk to your doctor. It is easier to manage a small problem than a big one.
“We’re busy. I get it,” says Daniel. “Sometimes it may feel like it’s not worth the hassle. But it’s worth it. Think of the impact this has on your family. Think about improving your family story. These small changes will add up and working alongside your doctor will make it feel like one step at a time.”
In collaboration with the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation, Hospice of the Western Reserve will be focusing on cardiac health through 2025. Several employee health resources will be made available, including an upcoming walking route and continued heart-healthy recipes on the staff portal. If you have any questions about the Disease State Committee’s work in cardiac care, please contact Deb Nobbe at email@example.com