February is heart health month, and it’s the perfect time to think about your heart health. Maybe you have heard about the benefits of eating a healthy diet, living an active life and refraining from tobacco use, but how can we incorporate those choices into our daily lives?
The Lawrence Memorial Hospital Healthy Hearts Fair is a great starting point. The annual fair is set for 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Feb. 17 at LMH. Please use the Arkansas Street entrance to participate in the fair, where you will learn a variety of ways to improve your health.
At the fair, you’ll hear tips to become more physically active, which is a recommendation from the American Heart Association as a way to prevent heart disease and stroke. The heart association suggests at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. An easy way to remember that goal is to strive for 30 minutes a day, five times a week. At the fair, you can talk to staff of LMH Cardiac Rehab and Therapy Services about simple ways to fit physical activity into your day. You can also learn more about the weekly water aerobics and tai chi programs taught by LMH.
If you want to focus on a heart-healthy diet, you can discuss options with LMH dietitians and staff from the Diabetes Education Center. They will explore ways to address portion control, serving sizes and goal setting for healthy food choices.
Goal setting is recommended by the Mayo Clinic as a way to achieve your health goals. Creating a goal might include eating five helpings of fruits or vegetables daily or drinking water at every meal. These goals can be particularly helpful for weight loss because you focus on changing behaviors and habits.
LMH Healthy Hearts Fair
Here are more details about the fair, which is planned for 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Feb. 17 at LMH:
• A fasting blood draw will be available between 7:30 and 10 a.m. If LMH receives your registration by Feb. 9, the cost is $20. After that, it is $25. No other lab work will be performed at the fair.
• From 7:30-10:30 a.m., free health screenings will be available and exhibits will be open. No advance registration is necessary for the screenings.
• Visit lmh.org/heart-fair for more information and to download a form for early registration.
If you are thinking about quitting smoking, a visit to the fair could be helpful. An LMH Community Outreach and Engagement wellness specialist will talk with you about steps to take to quit tobacco. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smokers are at greater risk for diseases that affect their hearts. Smoking increases the likelihood of stroke and coronary heart disease, which are among the leading causes of death in the United States. You also can find information at the fair about LMH Smoking Cessation classes and the Kansas Tobacco Quitline.
The LMH Laboratory will perform cholesterol screenings for $25 at the door. According to the National Institute of Health, everyone age 20 and older should have his or her cholesterol measured at least once every five years. A blood test can help show whether you’re at risk for coronary heart disease by looking at substances in your blood that carry cholesterol. This blood test is done after a 10-hour fast and provides information about your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Other LMH clinics and staff, along with the hospital’s community partners, will be available at the Healthy Hearts Fair to answer questions about heart health and wellness. You can participate in free screenings that focus on blood pressure, glucose testing, body mass index, body fat percentage, and heart attack and stroke appraisal. The fair will give you the chance to “know your numbers.” Your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index numbers are key indicators of your risk for serious illness. If you know these important numbers, you can make changes to improve your health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and other serious illnesses.
— Allison Koonce is community outreach and engagement supervisor at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.