Presbyterian Hospital Matthews launches free heart-health screenings
by Kara Lopp
Are you at risk for heart problems? A free 30-minute screening at Presbyterian Hospital Matthews will tell you.
After seeing success with the free program at Presbyterian’s Charlotte hospital, the service began in Matthews last week. Since Presbyterian started the risk screenings in May 2010, about 90 percent of the about 1,800 people screened were at moderate or high risk for heart problems, said Jan Wagoner, manager of cardiovascular prevention for the healthcare system.
During the about 30-minute screening, healthcare professionals with expertise in cardiovascular care take a “finger stick” blood sample to test cholesterol – the good and the bad – triglycerides and blood glucose. They also check blood pressure, height and weight and calculate patients’ body mass index. Patients also will have a one-on-one conversation about family history and their own habits, such as exercise, diet and smoking. And there’s new research which suggests certain cancer treatments and rheumatoid arthritis also can raise a person’s risk for heart problems, Wagoner said.
If needed, professionals are able to connect patients with local dieticians and specialists. Screening results also can be sent to a patient’s physician, with their permission.
“It’s one thing to raise awareness, it’s another thing to do something about it,” Wagoner said. “People have risk factors and they’re not paying attention to them or they don’t know what to do to pay attention to them. We’re trying to close the loop.”
With all the risk factors, there are very few people that don’t have some risk of developing heart problems, Wagoner said, which is why the screening is so important.
“People are busy and they’re not making their health even a secondhand focus in their lives,” she said. “It’s in the back of their mind; it never comes to the front burner until they start having symptoms. Or they are having symptoms they (don’t address). This (screening) provides them a very easy way to understand where their risks may lie. It’s amazing how folks open up. They really do want help; they’re just not sure how to get it or how to start that conversation.”
Want a free screening?
To schedule an appointment for your free heart-risk screening at Presbyterian Hospital Matthews, call 704-384-2273 (CARE).