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Cardiologist David Greenberg, MD: Preventing heart disease this Valentine’s Day

By: Gina Cronin, Gina.Cronin@gazette.com
February 14, 2017 Updated: March 6, 2017 at 11:34 am
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photo - Photo by Erica Fellion
Photo by Erica Fellion 

“I believe the best intervention for the treatment of patients with heart disease is prevention,” said David Greenberg, MD, cardiologist since 1976. Greenberg spent many years as an interventional cardiologist, where he would blow up balloons and place stents in patients’ arteries during the time of angina or a heart attack; but his passion at this point in his career is to prevent the need to have to do that in the first place. 

Greenberg finished his cardiology training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and was the cardiologist at Fort Carson from 1976-1978. Since that time he has built a practice of 14 doctors, which he sold to the University of Colorado, Colorado Health Medical Group in 2013; and in 2016 he joined the Kaiser Permanente team. “Kaiser Permanente’s focus on preventative medicine married up with my goal to help prevent coronary artery disease,” said Greenberg. Heart disease is the number one killer in America, and the American Heart Association’s goal is to reduce the disease 20 percent by 2020. “That is the goal of the association and my focus is to help make that happen. Kaiser Permanente is the perfect place to work to help move people in that direction.”

Greenberg shares “Life’s Simple 7” guide with each one of his patients. This handout, written by the American Heart Association, defines what it means to have ideal cardiovascular health, and the steps to get there. The guide lists getting active, controlling cholesterol, eating better, managing blood pressure, losing weight, reducing blood sugar and quitting smoking as the seven most important lifestyle changes one can make for their heart health. In terms of getting active, Greenberg recommends that patients exercise three times per week for 30-40 minutes at a moderate to vigorous difficulty level. Eating heart smart equates to cutting down on highly processed foods, fast food, hydrogenated oils, baked goods, and simple carbohydrates like white breads and pastas; and instead making sure to eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean proteins, legumes and berries. 

Greenberg notes that it is also important for both men and women – particularly women – to be screened early on for heart disease and symptoms of heart disease. “It’s recommended that women be screened by age 50 – but I believe that even at age 30 women should know what their cholesterol and blood pressure is; if they have diabetes; if they are obese; family history; and any other risk factors that can potentially contribute to manifesting symptoms of heart disease.” Women tend to develop the disease five to 10 years later than men, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be on top of their cardiovascular health early on. 

“The most rewarding part of my career is witnessing my patients improve,” said Greenberg. “Seeing my patients alive and well 25 years after their heart attack or after coronary bypass surgery really feels good. There is one coronary heart disease patient that I’ve been taking care of for 44 years, and it’s been a privilege to watch his improvement over time.” 

Greenberg is on the board of the American Heart Association, as well as the Foundation Board at Memorial Hospital. He was also involved in the prevention program and helped start the open heart surgical program at Memorial Hospital. 

“My father died of a heart attack nine months after I got married, and my wife’s father died of a heart attack three days after we got married. This is what turned my interest to cardiology,” said Greenberg. “I changed my life around for the sake of my health. Even at age 71 I run three to four miles three times a week, I’ve never smoked, I don’t have diabetes and I eat heart smart. I do this because it’s the way I want to live.” Greenberg treats patients every day, but he also leads by example – making him an inspiration to men and women of all ages. He is currently accepting new patients.

- David Greenberg, M.D., is a cardiologist practicing at the Kaiser Permanente Parkside Medical Offices located at 215 Parkside Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80910. To learn more about how  we can help your family thrive, visit kp.org or call 1-888-681-7878.

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