Dr. Carl Orringer is director of the Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine Program at UHealth, the University of Miami Health System. The program will launch May 1 at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center in Coral Gables, Florida and at Sayfie Pavilion on the University of Miami Health System medical campus in Miami. To make an appointment, call 305-243-5554. For more about cardiovascular care, click here to visit the University of Miami’s health news blog
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When a simple test at a pharmacy alerted Mitzi Frick to her high cholesterol, she wasn’t entirely shocked. Both of her parents suffered from serious heart conditions that ultimately shortened their lives. But she didn’t know how to change it until she met with Dr. Carl Orringer.
Dr. Orringer diagnosed Mitzi with hypercholesterolemia, a genetic condition that results in excessive amounts of cholesterol in the blood and significantly increases a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke. Compared to the general population, whose LDL, or “bad” cholesterol level ranges from 115-120 mg/dl, Mitzi’s cholesterol level was 260 mg/dl. Changes to Mitzi’s diet and the addition of medication to her daily regiment dramatically decreased her cholesterol levels back that of an average, healthy person.
“I had a big problem with fast food,” says Mitzi, who ate out as often as three times a day before her hypercholesterolemia diagnosis. “With the help of Dr. Orringer, I don’t eat fast food anymore.”
“The traditional approach has been to treat people when they get sick. This is extremely important and we are committed to it,” says Dr. Orringer. “We are equally committed to helping people avoid situations that cause them to become sick.”
In addition to a dietary pattern that reduces consumption of saturated fat, fried and processed foods, Dr. Orringer recommends at least 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise. But for patients like Mizti, the continued use of statins is essential and life saving, he says.
As an unexpected benefit of her medication and improved diet, Mitzi lost weight. She now understands that she must maintain her current lifestyle, continue to take her medicine every day, and have regular check-ups and blood testing to keep her future heart attack risk as low as possible. “I feel much better about my health and about the future,” says Mitzi. “I’m really grateful.”
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Together with a multidisciplinary team of cardiovascular disease prevention experts in the areas of cardiology, clinical lipidology, hypertension, diabetes and genetics, Dr. Orringer will launch the Cardiovascular Preventive Medicine Program on May 1 at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center in Coral Gables, Florida and at the Sayfie Pavilion on UHealth’s medical campus in Miami.
“We look at the risk factors for heart attack and stroke, which are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, cigarette smoking and unhealthy lifestyle choices related to eating and physical activity,” says Dr. Orringer. “We address all of those risk factors to reduce the risk to the greatest extent possible.”
The team is also working in collaboration specialists in vascular and endovascular surgery to provide the highest level of preventive care for our patients with peripheral artery disease, who are at especially high risk for heart attacks, stroke, and amputations.
Coronary artery disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States, says Dr. Orringer. “We are committed to doing what we can to prevent those complications from occurring.”
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