Health and Fitness Information for Mature Adults 

February 1, 2010

Table of Contents:

  • Atrial Fibrillation (Introduction to special issue)
  • The AFib Support Team (Helping patients get the most out of life!)

Atrial Fibrillation

American Senior Fitness Association president Janie Clark, MA, is pleased to be a member of the new AFib Support Team, assisting persons who have been diagnosed with the heart rhythm disturbance atrial fibrillation. Janie serves as the team's senior fitness specialist and recently joined her fellow team members -- a cardiologist, a cardiological nurse, and a lifestyle gerontologist -- on a special episode of Retirement Living Television's "Healthline" series, which was dedicated to the subject of atrial fibrillation.

Led by host Kevin Soden, MD, the "Healthline" special explains the meaning of AFib, includes the touching stories of real-life patients, explores treatment options, and provides practical approaches for living successfully with the condition. For more information about the program, including short video excerpts, visit the Retirement Living Television website at

Below is an exciting news release describing the launch of the AFib Support Team initiative. It features links where you can see and hear support team members briefly discussing atrial fibrillation. It also includes a link to the AFib Support Team website, which supplies detailed information about this prevalent health concern: atrial fibrillation.

The AFib Support Team

National Experts Team Up to
Help Americans with Atrial Fibrillation

“AFib Support Team” Offers Insights on Comprehensive
Approach to Management of Serious Heart Condition

Bridgewater, NJ — January 20, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — National medical and lifestyle experts have been brought together by sanofi-aventis U.S. to help aging Americans learn to live life more fully despite a serious and increasingly prevalent heart condition – atrial fibrillation (AFib), a type of irregular heartbeat. The “AFib Support Team,” which comprises a cardiologist, cardiovascular nurse, senior fitness expert and lifestyle gerontologist, will drive a national public awareness campaign that provides concrete guidance to help those with AFib manage their condition.

AFib worsens underlying cardiovascular disease and is associated with a five-fold increased risk for stroke, and doubles the risk of death. Hospitalization associated with AFib has increased dramatically (two-to-three fold) in recent years in the U.S. The condition takes an emotional, physical and financial toll; more than half of Americans with AFib find it disruptive to their lives. The AFib Support Team was created to help patients in the comprehensive management of AFib by offering practical advice and educational resources addressing the medical lifestyle and fitness challenges associated with their condition.

“The impact of atrial fibrillation goes well beyond physical health; it is a condition that affects patients’ everyday life,” said Support Team member and cardiologist Bradley P. Knight, M.D., Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Northwestern University. “As healthcare professionals, we understand the need to help patients address all aspects of the condition to effectively manage AFib and improve their overall well-being.”

The Support Team addresses issues including:

  • Understanding the various aspects of the disease
  • Questions to ask healthcare professionals during appointments
  • Preparing for travel
  • Developing a fitness plan with healthcare professionals
  • Managing stress, and balancing a career
  • Avoiding substances that can trigger AFib episodes
  • Working with a cardiovascular nurse to obtain information and support

Resources for patients with AFib developed by the AFib Support Team are available online at They include a guide to healthcare professional-patient dialogue and fact sheets to help patients understand how to live life more fully with AFib. Approximately 3.1 million Americans are diagnosed with AFib, and an estimated 13 percent of Americans over the age of 70 are living with the condition.

“Older Americans with AFib can continue to live a full and active life, but they may need to make some modifications,” said Alexis Abramson, Ph.D., Lifestyle Gerontologist. “Our Support Team offers practical tips and advice for people with AFib to help them manage their disease and continue with their daily activities.”

About the AFib Support Team

The Support Team will also participate in events around the country, where people with AFib can interact with Team members and local experts to learn more about managing their condition and build their own local Support Team. The AFib Support team is sponsored by sanofi-aventis U.S LLC. Healthcare professionals and experts providing information on behalf of the AFib Support Team are retained and compensated for their services by sanofi-aventis U.S.

The national AFib Support Team members are:

  • Bradley Knight, M.D. is a cardiologist specializing in heart rhythm disorders. Dr. Knight is an editorial consultant for a number of scientific cardiology and electrophysiology journals, a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society.
  • Kathy Berra, MSN, ANP, FAANP, a cardiovascular nurse, currently serves as clinical director for the Stanford Heart Network at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. She is also a cardiovascular nurse practitioner at Cardiovascular Medicine and Coronary Interventions, Redwood City, California. Kathy is also past president of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation and the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association where she currently sits on the Board of Directors. She co-authored Heart Attack: Advice for Patients by Patients, which was honored by Yale University Press as one of the top ten books about heart disease in 2002.
  • Alexis Abramson, Ph.D. is often cited as America’s leading, impassioned champion for the dignity and independence of those over 50. Dr. Abramson is an inspiring speaker, corporate consultant, successful author and award-winning entrepreneur and journalist. Abramson has frequently appeared as the on-air expert Gerontologist for NBC’s Today show and Weekend Today. Abramson holds both a master’s and a doctorate in Gerontology, which she received from the University of Southern California, the premier school of Gerontology in the world.
  • Janie Clark, M.A., a leading senior fitness authority, is president of the American Senior Fitness Association (ASFA), winner of the National Council on Aging 2009 Best Practice award for Professional Education Programming. She has more than 25 years' experience in the senior health-fitness field.

About Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, seen by physicians and accounts for about one-third of hospital admissions for cardiac rhythm disturbances. Because the risk of AFib increases with age, the number of people affected is expected to rise dramatically as the U.S. population gets older. It also costs the nation approximately $6.65 billion annually, much of which could be attributed to the increased hospital in-patient, emergency and medical services utilization rates for people with AFib.

About sanofi-aventis

Sanofi-aventis U.S. is an affiliate of sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to help improve the lives of patients. Sanofiaventis is listed in Paris (Euronext: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

For more information, or

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