Heart Healthy Fair for World Heart Day

Sunday, September 28, 2014

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AS cardiovascular disease sets to double worldwide, a group of western Jamaica doctors, led by heart specialist Dr Claudine Lewis, will tomorrow offer free ECGs and full cholesterol profiles to Montegonians on World Heart Day.


Dr Lewis, who operates the Heart Smart Centre at Montego Freeport, in collaboration with MicroLabs and Fairview Optical, earlier this month announced a Heart Healthy Fair for residents in the second city from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm in Sam Sharpe Square.


"The first 40 persons over age 40 to register will receive the service, valued at $7,000 each, free. After the first 40 free ECG and cholesterol screens, these tests will be offered for $500 each (a) combined cost of $1,000," Dr Lewis said, adding that there would also be free blood pressure, Body Mass Index (BMI) and blood sugar checks and eye screening.


According to the heart specialist who has headed the cardiovascular unit at the Cornwall Regional Hospital for the last six years, the health fair is important as it would serve to raise awareness about heart disease, while providing an opportunity for early detection, "as most cases do not produce any symptoms - leading to the name 'Silent Killer'."


The most recent Jamaica Healthy Lifestyles survey reported that up to 80 per cent of people are not aware of their blood pressure or cholesterol status. These along with diabetes and cigarette smoking pose the greatest risk for the development of heart disease, a release from the Heart Smart Centre said. Current estimates from the World Health Organisation indicate that some 17 million people die from heart disease worldwide annually.


"This includes heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease. Ten years ago, this represented 30 per cent of all global deaths. That number is growing and is expected to double by 2030," Dr Lewis pointed out, revealing that in Jamaica, heart disease remained one of the leading causes of death, accounting for four out of five deaths in 2004.


"We will be on-site to offer expert ECG interpretation and recommendations for follow-up of persons with abnormal screens," Dr Lewis continued.


World Heart Day is the mission of the World Heart Federation with member countries all over the world with the same goal - raising awareness about heart disease through education and screening, as well as lobbying for institutional changes to make heart-healthy lifestyles the focus.


According to the release, this year's theme "Creating Heart- Healthy Environments", paying attention to banning smoking in public, a move already embraced by the Ministry of Health, along with promoting heart healthy choices at work, home and play.


Group discussions on healthy heart meal planning, and exercise will also take place at the Heart Healthy Fair.


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