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Heart and Vascular

Jennifer’s Tips: Cardiology Nurse Discusses Heart Disease

Feb 25 2022

“I have always loved learning about cardiology, and to this day that remains true,” Jennifer Rager, RN, shares. “I never turn down the opportunity to absorb something new related to the heart.”

Jennifer is manager of noninvasive cardiology in our Youngstown market. Board certified in cardiology, she currently focuses on noninvasive diagnostic testing.

“Diagnostic testing is used for patients that have any issues or abnormalities with their heart circulation, pumping or overall function,” Jennifer explains. “From the testing, it can be determined if further evaluation or a treatment plan is needed.”

Throughout her 17 years of serving with our ministry, Jennifer feels that patients have made an impact in her life just as much as she has changed theirs for the better.

“One patient I always come back to is a young woman who needed a heart catheterization,” Jennifer says. “I was in on her procedure. During it one of her coronary arteries collapsed from heart disease and she became critical. We worked quickly and rushed her over to the operating room for emergency open heart surgery. Later, I found out she made it through surgery, and I went to visit her. Her mind was foggy, but yet she remembered me. It was so gratifying that she was able to survive and go home to be with her family.”

Jennifer would also like to remind people that high blood pressure and ultimately heart disease can be prevented through careful monitoring and regularly going to your doctor’s appointments.

“Unfortunately, high blood pressure does not have any early visible signs and will silently cause damage,” she explains. “By the time it shows outward signs, it has already done significant damage to the inside.”

Her suggestion for avoiding future problems is to “make sure your blood pressure is in normal range by using your own blood pressure cuff at home and checking it every couple of months.”

Taking care of your body is the best way to keep your heart healthy. Eating a balanced diet, exercising and limiting coffee as well as alcohol consumption are all ways you can help prevent developing heart disease.

“High blood pressure can happen at any age,” Jennifer says. “Common reasons that young people develop high blood pressure is usually due to environmental factors. In some cases, if high blood pressure runs in your family, it can show up at a young age. But usually it is precipitated by how a person takes care of themselves. If we take better care of ourselves while we are younger, it can result in less disease as we age and get older. So, don’t wait until you are older as it might be too late.”

February is American Heart Month. Learn more about the cardiology services we offer at Mercy Health.

Also, at Mercy Health, nurses like Jennifer mean the world. Learn how you can join our nursing team today.

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