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Bradley Smith is CardioSmart

After a heart attack, Bradley Smith dramatically improved his heart health and reduced his risk for a second heart attack by attending cardiac rehab, changing his diet and taking his medications faithfully.

Bradley Smith
Since his heart attack, Bradley Smith has made changes to his diet and exercise routine. He works out six to seven days a week, avoids fried food and limits himself to 1,500 mg or less of sodium per day.
Through diet, exercise and medication, Bradley has experienced significant weight, BMI and lipid profile improvements since his 2011 hospital admission.

Being “CardioSmart” means being well-informed on the cardiovascular system and the factors that ... impact it.

Bradley Smith: Heart Attack Patient

What is your CardioSmart story?

In the early morning hours of June 18, 2011, I began experiencing intense pain in both of my elbows and drove myself to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. After undergoing an EKG, it was determined that I was having a heart attack. Based on the size and location of the artery involved, the cardiac surgeons were "unable to wire the lesion." Sixty hours after being admitted to the hospital, I began cardiac rehabilitation with the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics CHAMPS (Cardiovascular Health, Assessment, Management and Prevention Services) Program. During my tenure at CHAMPS, I participated in 30 sessions of monitored fitness training and approximately a dozen educational classes created for "decreasing the risk for a future cardiac event." It was in these classes that I learned about nutrition, stress management, exercise principles and understanding heart disease.

Heart disease is present in both my maternal and paternal families. Consequently, I have, from an early age, tried to follow a healthy diet, manage my weight and exercise on a regular basis. Since my heart attack, I work out six to seven days a week. My workout regime consists of both aerobic activities and resistive exercises. My primary goals are to increase my cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and muscular strength. Forty-five to 90 minutes are spent doing various aerobic activities, followed by 30 minutes of weight training. My diet has also been dramatically modified. It now consists mainly of plant-based meals. I do eat four ounces of fish per day (my only source of animal protein). I have eliminated fried foods from my diet, and I limit myself to 1,500 mg or less of sodium per day.

I travel for a living and am on the road three to six days a week. CHAMPS also educated me on how to make good nutritional choices during my travels. I am now quite conscious about how my meals are prepared and portion sizes. I have no problem asking the restaurant manager if they would be willing to modify their menu to meet my dietary needs. Before my heart attack, I would have never had the guts to make such a request.

Through diet, exercise and medication, my laboratory results have significantly improved. When I was admitted to the hospital in 2011, my weight, BMI and lipid profile were: Weight—194; BMI—26.3; Total Cholesterol—189; Triglycerides—804; HDL—26; LDL—N/A. My latest results are: Weight—173.6; BMI—23; Total Cholesterol—99; Triglycerides—77; HDL—47; LDL—37. My results could not have been obtained without the help and encouragement of my family, the staff at CHAMPS, my cardiologist and primary care physician. I am now training for a half-marathon in May 2013.

What does it mean to you to be CardioSmart?

In my opinion, being “CardioSmart” means being well-informed on the cardiovascular system and the factors that positively or negatively impact it. The process continues as the person incorporates what they have learned into their everyday life and it becomes a part of their lifestyle. 

As a heart attack survivor, what motivated you to keep going day in and day out when things were tough?

During times of crisis, my family, friends and the congregation at St. Luke's Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa, have always supported and motivated me. In addition, approximately 60 hours after my heart attack, I was enrolled in the CHAMPS (Cardiovascular Health, Assessment, Management, and Prevention Service) Program at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. I benefited greatly using this service and am grateful to Patricia Lounsbury, Darin Gylten, Jennifer Bunning and Carol Throckmorton who helped in educating and motivating me to lead a more heart healthy lifestyle. Their hard work and dedication to my cardiovascular health enabled me to deal with my heart situation on a daily basis and to significantly improve my test results. I remain in frequent contact with them and they continue to help me achieve my health and fitness goals. 

Have you maintained a relationship with your cardiologist, Paul Lindower, MD, FACC, from the University of Iowa Hospital, and if so, how has that relationship helped you?

During the first year after my heart attack, I saw Dr. Lindower at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on a regular basis. Now, that I am on a "maintenance program," I see him annually. His great satisfaction with my test results encourages me to continue to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle. 

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