By David Rogers. January 31, 2017. BOONE, NC — Most of us know Valentine’s Day, but fewer of us probably know that February is also “American Heart Month.” As we are scurrying around town looking for chocolates and flowers, we should remember that the perfect Valentine’s Day present might well be the gift of heart health.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., and our ethnic origin makes only a little bit of difference. According to Medical News Today (MNT), nearly 75% of all deaths in the U.S. are attributed to just 10 causes, with the top 3 accounting for over 50% all deaths. Heart disease is #1, cancer is #2, and chronic lower respiratory disease (including primarily chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD) is #3.
Besides our own mortality, heart disease (which represents almost 24% of all deaths) is costly. Coronary artery disease costs the U.S. $108.9 billion each year. Together, heart disease and stroke cost more than $312.6 billion in health care expenditures and lost productivity, reports MNT. The most common heart related problems include plaque build-up in the arteries, angina, arrhythmias, and general heart failure.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., for both men and women.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) is working hard to bring awareness about heart health and vulnerabilities to High Country residents and visitors. Recognizing that February is “Heart Month,” ARHS is sponsoring its 5th annual Heart Shape even on Saturday, February 4th, from 8:00 am to 12:0o noon at the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center (232 Boone Heights Drive, Boone).
Heart Shape is free and open to the public, featuring free health screenings (a $500 value), an opportunity to speak a cardiac and vascular physician at a 10:00 am “Health Talk,” and free access to the Wellness Center. Those attending the Health Talk will also have a chance to win a “Fitbit” activity tracker.
The health screenings are comprehensive, featuring 15 free screenings. They include:
- Heart rate
- Blood glucose
- Low back screening
- Blood pressure
- Lower extremity strength
- Diabetes risk assessment
- Pocket EKG
- Foot pulses and sensory
- Hearth healthy eating
- Healthy lung screening
- Stroke risk assessment
- Height/Weight/Body Mass Index
For the cholesterol screening, participants must be fasted (do not eat after 8 pm the night before). Screening is restricted to those NOT currently being treated for high cholesterol. ARHS organizers add that attendees with a high cholesterol diagnosis and who are managing their high cholesterol with medications should consult with their family physician on a regular basis to manage their condition.
The Heart Shape Health Talk this year will be held by the fireplace in the lobby of The Rehabilitation Center (connected to The Wellness Center) at 10:00 am. Cardiac and vascular physicians will be on hand in a panel format to conduct an interactive Q&A session focused on heart health. The drawing for the FitBit will be conducted at the conclusion of the Health Talk.
Folks not already a member of The Wellness Center should also take advantage of the opportunity to tour the facility and potentially take advantage of free free fitness classes:
- 9:00 am — Yoga
- 9:15 am — Revolution (Spin)
- 9:15 am — Zumba
- 10:30 am — Yoga
- 10:30 am — Water Fitness