Have you been assessed for risk of heart disease?

Lawton_February is American Heart Month, and the goal for the American Heart Association is to increase awareness about heart health, and identify risks of heart disease.  More than 350 visited Comanche County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) in Lawton on Wednesday and Thursday for a public heart screening.  Nurses tested blood glucose levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index to assess their risk for heart disease.

The key benefit of assessment is to determine what problems an individual may be at risk for, and address them early.  First, nurses get a blood sample to test it for cholesterol, blood sugar, and lipid levels.  "If you get a screening done, many times you can address those problems early before it causes a problem with your heart," said Yvonne Hall, RN.

Colleen Adair and her husband took off of work to get the screening done together.  "We're eager to know what we need to work on," said Colleen.  "For the New Year, we're trying to eat better, and he's a golfer, and makes sure he gets his exercise two or three times a week, and that's great."

Exercise, diet, and family history of heart disease all play a role in risk for heart disease, but there is another big risk:  "The number one preventable thing they can do is if they stop smoking to really cut down on heart disease," said Hall.  "We Oklahomans are still bad at that."

Expert say it's never too early to quit smoking, and it's never too early to get your heart risk assessed.  One of the folks drawing blood on Thursday is 17 years old, and he also wanted an evaluation.  "I have a history of heart disease in my family, and would like to know ahead of time," said Certified Nursing Assistant Michael Massey.  "There's a growing number of heart disease cases in younger people, and it needs to be caught before you get older so you can take care of it."

If you missed CCMH's public heart screenings this week and want to know more, call your doctor and ask about having an evaluation for your risk for heart disease.