UNION — Wallace Thomson Hospital hosted its 15th annual Heart Day event on Thursday (Valentine’s Day), with this year’s theme, “Make a commitment to being heart healthy.”
During Heart Day, participants were able to come to Wallace Thomson for free blood pressure checks and discounted heart-healthy testing such as cholesterol checks and chemistry panels.
Union Hospital District CEO Tim Merritt said he was glad to be able to offer free and discounted services to the large number of people who turned out for the event, and he looks forward to continuing the tradition again next year.
Those who attended the event were given access to free blood pressure checks, cholesterol tests for $10, chemistry panel tests for $15, heart health education, healthy recipes and healthy snacks. Heart Day participants were also made eligible to receive a free bone density scan at a later date.
The event included stations for the following areas:
- Union County Health Care Foundation/WTH Volunteers
- Radiology/Imaging Services
- Women’s Health & Wellness
- Carolinas Health Associates
- Advanced Pain Treatment Center
- Education and Awareness (cancer awareness, diabetes education, smoking cessation, healthier lifestyles)
- WTH/Morrison’s Nutrition & Wellness
- Ellen Sagar Nursing Home
- Laboratory Services
February is American Heart Month, and according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Each year, approximately 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. Around 600,000 people die from heart disease in the U.S. each year, which accounts for one out of every four deaths.
The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type in the United States is coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease), which occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Coronary heart disease can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure and arrhythmia.
Cardiovascular disease — including heart disease and stroke — costs the U.S. $312.6 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications and lost productivity. These conditions also are leading causes of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities.
The good news is that heart disease is preventable and controllable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided the following heart-healthy tips:
Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables — adults should have at least five servings each day. Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt or sodium in your diet also can lower your blood pressure.
Halt the Salt. Most American adults (and children too) are eating too much sodium. In fact, we are eating about 3,400 mg of sodium a day, when most of us should have only 1,500 mg per day. Eating too much sodium increases your risk for high blood pressure, a major contributor to heart disease and stroke.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate a number called the body mass index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure a person’s body fat.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a pharmacy, or at a doctor’s office.
Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.
Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Men should stick to no more than two drinks per day, and women to no more than one.
Have your cholesterol checked. Your health care provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years. Talk with your doctor about this simple blood test.
Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your doctor about treatment options.
Take your medicine. If you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don’t understand something.
Find much more information about numerous health and safety topics by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at email@example.com.