Heart health event set

Published 9:58 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Heart Health Month takes place in February, and Sentara Obici Hospital will be celebrating the occasion with its annual Heart Health Fair and Walk.

“I want to spread the word on chronic disease management,” said Marianne Walston, director of critical and intermediate care. “I want people to be better equipped to manage their chronic disease. That is the No. 1 goal.”

The event will be held at 10 a.m. on Feb. 17 across from the hospital at the YMCA, 2769 Godwin Blvd. During the event, attendees will have the chance to receive screenings.

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“We do cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose. We did A1C’s last year,” Walston said, referring to a screening that can reveal diabetes or pre-diabetes. “We try to rule out the risk factors, educate them on those factors and become healthier. Part of our intent is to reach out to our patient population that has heart failure or heart disease and manage that chronic disease by being healthier in terms of their lifestyle.”

All of the screenings will be administered free of charge, but Walston advises folks to come early, as they are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

Those who attend will have the opportunity to participate in the six-minute walk. The walk is just a test to see if the participants are able to do it, but it is also a way of showing those with heart health issues that they can still be active despite their condition, Walston said.

Information will be available regarding diabetes, nutrition, exercise and advance care planning.

“Part of our intent is to reach out to our patient population that has heart failure or heart disease and manage that chronic disease by being healthier in terms of their lifestyle,” Walston said.

The event is not just for people already diagnosed with heart disease, but Walston hopes that holding the event at the YMCA will bring in younger people as well. Literature on heart health has shown that children as young as 3 can suffer from atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fats and cholesterol on the artery walls.

“You want to teach the young kids about it as well, because they’re at risk. They’re also at home with their mom, dad and their grandparents to help and intervene with them. You can impact people,” Walston said. “It affects all ages for a myriad of reasons.”

Participants will also get free healthy snacks and be able to participate in giveaways.

For more information or to register for the event, contact Pamela Smith at 934-4621.