Summit cardiologist: Know your risk, take care of yourself

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Interventional Cardiologist, Dr. Arshard Safi

CHAMBERSBURG — The statistics are stifling; every 60 seconds an American dies from Heart Disease, and every 40 seconds, an American suffers a heart attack.  How can you make sure you or a loved one do not join the alarming statistics?  Interventional Cardiologist, Dr. Arshard Safi said it's about understanding the risks and taking care of yourself.

Dr. Safi explained risk factors to attendees of a recent free community seminar, “No one wants a broken heart, know your risk for heart disease,” held at Wilson College's Brooks Complex Auditorium. Risk factors include age, sex, family history, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and physical inactivity.

He said understanding your personal risk factors could save your life.

“Knowing your risk is so important,” he told the audience, “As physicians, we want to know how can we find the people who are high risk for developing heart disease and educate them.  I'd rather see you in my office and try to help you reduce those risks, than meet you in the emergency room when you are having a heart attack.”

While some risk factors, such as family history, are unavoidable, others can be controlled.  From coping with stress, to developing healthy eating habits and living a healthy lifestyle, Dr. Safi encouraged community members to own their health.

“At the end of the day, you need to take care of yourself,” he said.

Also presenting at the seminar was Keystone Behavioral Health Licensed Social Worker Arthur Caron, who addressed emotional eating and the related repercussions.

He encouraged people to work towards nourishing their bodies based on physical triggers for hunger, rather than giving in to urges that lead to mindless emotional eating.

“Cravings usually last three and a half minutes,” he said. “If you can distract yourself, that craving usually goes away.”

In an effort to help the Franklin County community better understand their risk for developing heart disease; Summit Health has established a webpage with resources and tools. For more information, visit