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Fish Oil Can Be Good for Your Heart
Are Supplements the Best Route to a Healthy Heart?

Expanding Behavioral Health Services
Work has begun on the behavioral health expansion at
Cleveland Heights Medical Center

A First in Ohio for Detecting Skin Cancer
MetroHealth is the first hospital in Ohio to use SkinIO

Pharmacy Opens at Ohio City Health Center
Come and see our new full-service retail pharmacy


Fish Oil Can Be Good for Your Heart 
If you have a history of heart disease

A trip down the supplement aisle of your local pharmacy may lead you to think the simple answer to heart health lies inside of a shiny gel capsule. Many people take over-the-counter fish oil and vitamin D, which have long been proclaimed to prevent heart disease. But are these supplements the best route to a healthy heart? The latest research suggests those claims come up short.

So what works?

“If you want to prevent heart disease, you’re better off getting enough exercise and eating a healthy Mediterranean and DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet,” said MetroHealth cardiologist Ashish Aneja, MD. “In fact, I can’t emphasize the role of diet and exercise enough.” Genetics matter too. If you are at high risk for heart disease, medication may be needed in addition to lifestyle changes.

The Research: Your Heart History Matters

The most current research from at least two very large studies in otherwise healthy persons have shown no benefit from taking fish oil over the counter. In fact, there may be an increased risk of rhythm disturbances such as atrial fibrillation of the heart from the fish oil. The lack of benefit also appears to be true for over the counter vitamin D supplements in otherwise healthy persons. Therefore, the most recent evidence suggests that over the counter supplementation of these agents may not be helpful and may lead to some harm. In other research, scientists evaluated patients with a history of heart disease or at high risk of heart disease who were taking statins. Researchers found that a prescription form of highly purified fish oil reduced levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in the bloodstream. Patients taking the fish oil supplement also had a lower risk of death from heart attack and stroke and had lower levels of chest pain.

The Takeaway on Supplements

Based on these studies, Dr. Aneja does not recommend vitamin D and over-the-counter fish oil as a strategy for cardiovascular disease prevention in people who have good heart health. If triglyceride levels are very high, you may need to discuss pharmaceutical options with your primary care doctor. However, he does consider prescribing purified EPA fish oil to patients with heart disease who are taking statins but may need to further lower their triglycerides. Purified fish oil may also benefit patients who are at higher risk of developing heart disease because of diabetes or a history of smoking.

Steps to Keep Your Heart in Tip-Top Shape

What can you do to boost your heart health? Dr. Aneja has the following tips:

Eat a Heart Healthy Diet

The Mediterranean and DASH diets emphasize eating lots of plants including whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, less red meat, more heart healthy fish like salmon and mackerel, and very little processed or fried foods. “Cardiologists believe that eating these are the best way to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, helping prevent cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Aneja.

Get Your Heart Pumping

The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 2½ hours of aerobic exercise, or physical activity that gets the heart pumping, each week. Build up to a goal of 30-45 minutes of activity a day. Dr. Aneja recommends starting with small changes to increase activity level, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and using an inexpensive step counter to reach a daily target of 10,000 steps. “These small changes have significant benefits,” he said. “Aside from weight loss, exercise has been shown to improve balance and mood, and prevent other common but debilitating conditions such as depression and osteoporosis.”

Ask Your Doctor for a Heart Risk Assessment

Not every patient is the same, so this risk assessment should be personalized and detailed. Your doctor should consider risk factors such as smoking history, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood
sugar levels, family history, ethnicity and underlying health conditions such as chronic kidney disease, metabolic syndrome, premature menopause and pre-eclampsia.

Have a Coronary Artery Calcium Test

This is a special imaging test of the heart that can help you and your doctor decide whether you may need to take statins. For information about getting a coronary calcium test, please check with your primary care physician (PCP) and make an appointment at If you do not have a PCP, you can find a primary care physician near you at

What Do You Know About Fiber?

Most folks do not get the recommended daily amount of fiber.
• Men = 30-38 grams
• Women = 21-25 grams
Why is it so important?
Fiber can help with the following:
• Help your digestive health
• Lower cholesterol & blood pressure
• Help control blood sugar levels, and more!
Here’s a list of 38 foods high in fiber:

Having Trouble Sleeping?

• Avoid caffeine and energy drinks after lunch
• Do not eat, watch TV or use your phone while in bed
• Avoid strenuous exercise before bed
For more tips on better sleep hygiene, visit
If you’re experiencing major sleep issues, call MetroHealth at 216-778-5864 or visit to schedule online.

MetroHealth’s Cleveland Heights Medical Center to Expand Behavioral Health Services

Work has begun on the behavioral health expansion at Cleveland Heights Medical Center after the Cleveland Heights City Council approved MetroHealth’s plan in late March.

This project, slated to open in the fall of 2022, will fill a vital community need by dramatically increasing the number of inpatient behavioral health and addiction beds.

The $42 million, three-story addition to the medical center at Severance Circle will mean 110 new treatment beds and 96,000 square feet of new space for care. The facility will serve adolescents, adults and elders suffering from drug and alcohol addiction and behavioral health issues. The facility will include a psychiatric urgent care center as part of the Emergency Department and a high-acuity unit for patients requiring specialized care.

The new behavioral health facility is expected to serve 5,000 patients a year and create 225 jobs when it is fully up and running. The behavioral health expansion will significantly reduce Cuyahoga County’s critical shortage of care and treatment capacity. In 2019, nearly half of the residents who required behavioral health inpatient care received it outside of Cuyahoga County. National guidelines reveal the county has 220 fewer beds than what is needed to adequately serve the needs of local patients.

“By making this critical investment at our Cleveland Heights campus, MetroHealth will be able to address one of our community’s biggest problems – the shortage of beds for acute mental health and addiction disease treatment. This expansion will enable us to give more patients the care they deserve, save lives and make our neighborhoods safer,” said MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD.

The expansion adds to the existing 12-bed hospital facility, which offers family medicine, colon screenings, an emergency department, mammography services and sports medicine, as well as a regional dispatch center.

For more information, go to:

MetroHealth is First Hospital in Ohio to Use a New Technology for Detecting Skin Cancer

MetroHealth is the first hospital in Ohio to use a new technology that will help in the early prevention and detection of skin cancer. SkinIO is an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven mole-mapping technology that tracks and flags moles over time that may require further examination.

The non-invasive technology is used in conjunction with a standard skin exam. A nurse will use an iPad and the SkinIO technology to capture whole-body images to create a digital skin health record. The process is quick and easy. The SkinIO technology will flag any potential skin issues that may require additional attention.

The images remain secure and private, only visible to the patient and provider. Following the initial exam, the patient will have access to the SkinIO app by phone or tablet. This will allow self-monitoring for more proactive skin health care by the patient. When the patient checks their skin and moles for any changes, they now have a digital record to determine if any changes are occurring.

SkinIO total body photography may be covered by insurance. Patients should check with their insurance company or their doctor’s office for pricing or billing information.

To schedule an appointment, call 216-778-3376 (DERM). For more information, visit

Pharmacy Opens at Ohio City Health Center

Ohio City Health Center is a beautiful new location with multiple services for patients, and now offers a full-service retail pharmacy.

Located on the first floor, the new pharmacy features:
• The best possible price for prescriptions
• Free home delivery of medication (with same-day service in some cases!)
• Flavored medication for children
• Immunizations
• Low-priced over-the-counter medications
• Easy access to RTA
• Free parking

The pharmacy is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. You do not need to be a MetroHealth patient to use the new pharmacy. Just walk in and we’ll fill your prescriptions. Call 216-957-MEDS (6337) for more information.

To learn more about all the services available at the MetroHealth Ohio City Health Center, visit

Virtual Care Continues

Effective July 6, MetroHealth is no longer operating retail clinics at Discount Drug Mart locations. Sick visits and minor injuries are now conveniently addressed through virtual visits.

News to Know…

New Hospital Construction Remains On Time and On Budget

Every day, hundreds of construction workers continue to build the new 11-floor hospital on MetroHealth’s main campus. The project, which broke ground in April 2019, remains on time and on budget. We expect to welcome the first patients to the building in the autumn of 2022. If you’ve been on our main campus or driven along the famed “MetroHealth curve” in recent weeks, you’ve certainly seen the stunning 11-floor structure taking shape.

And now the new hospital has a name, too. In December, MetroHealth announced a historic $42 million gift from JoAnn and Bob Glick. It’s the largest donation in our 183-year history and the third-largest gift ever from individuals to a public hospital system in America. The Glicks’ generosity will support MetroHealth programs and initiatives that align with their passion for improving community health, especially for women and children. Although none of the $42 million will be used for construction, the new main hospital will be named The MetroHealth Glick Center in recognition of the gift.

Want to see how construction is progressing on The MetroHealth Glick Center? Visit and click “virtual tour and live feed” to access live 24-hour construction cameras.

Cancer Center Advancing Technology for Improved Patient Outcomes

MetroHealth has made a $5 million investment in advanced radiation technology that can target a broad range of cancer cells with high level precision and accuracy. Known as the Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator, the technology allows oncologists to deliver high-energy X-rays or electrons to the region of the patient’s tumor while sparing healthy organs and tissues from radiation exposure.

The new radiotherapy system will provide patients the advanced care they need when and where they need it at the MetroHealth Cancer Center. Learn more at