Beaumont docs pen heart-smart book for a cause

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Farmington Press | Published March 29, 2017

 “The Heart-Healthy Handbook,” now available for purchase on Amazon, will raise funds for Beaumont Health System’s cardiac rehabilitation program.

“The Heart-Healthy Handbook,” now available for purchase on Amazon, will raise funds for Beaumont Health System’s cardiac rehabilitation program.

Photo provided by Robert Ortlieb, of Beaumont Health System


METRO DETROIT — Dr. Simon Dixon, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at Beaumont Health System, would be in for a world of hurt if patients were able to heal or even prevent heart disease themselves.

But even so, that’s his goal with “The Heart-Healthy Handbook.”

“A vast majority of heart disease is preventable,” said Dixon, a West Bloomfield resident. “For me, since I do heart caths and stents, I see (the disease) from the other end of the spectrum. But if we could avoid patients presenting with heart attacks and stents, that could be better. So we saw this book as a huge opportunity for us to address heart health.”

Dixon teamed up with Dr. Barry Franklin, director of preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at Beaumont Health System, to pull together the heart-smart book comprising more than 140 essays penned by dozens of Beaumont experts.

“The idea really came from Dr. Franklin, who’s an international leader in the field. For about 10 years now, he’s been editing a brochure we put out on a quarterly basis for patients, and this book is basically the summation of the best of those newsletters,” Dixon explained. “For patients, it’s a wonderful resource on how they can help themselves and get healthy.”

Chapters dive into topics like fitness trackers, healthy eating and food choices, the benefits of exercise regimens like yoga, traveling with pacemakers and defibrillators, statin drugs, and much more. Among the heart secrets the doctors explain are why drinking coffee might protect your heart, how the flu can increase cardiovascular risks and why shorter people are more likely to develop heart disease.

“I’ve been at Beaumont 32 years now, and there is nothing that I’ve been more passionate about than this book and its potential impact on patients,” Franklin, a Birmingham resident, said in a prepared statement. “Inside these covers, dozens of Beaumont cardiovascular experts came together to provide their expertise.”

Dixon said heart patients will certainly benefit from the tips and tricks contained in the pages, but it’s an easy and enjoyable read for anyone who wants to do their heart a little good.

“Heart disease starts when you’re a teenager, not when you’re in your 50s or 60s,” Dixon said. 

The docs won’t be taking much away from their author experience: All of the proceeds from the sales of the book will benefit Beaumont Health System’s cardiac rehabilitation program.

“We’ve made tremendous improvements in the area of heart disease over the past decade, but there’s still a huge amount of disease in the community, and the more we can do to prevent heart disease, the better,” Dixon said.

“The Heart-Healthy Handbook” retails for $29.95 and can be purchased at