Health fair expands

Published 9:41 pm Thursday, January 29, 2009

Heart disease continues to be the number one killer of Americans.

Cancer is second and stroke is third.

The numbers are alarming, said Gail Bush, a member of the Pike County Heart Association board.

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“It’s estimated that 80.7 million American adults had one or more types of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). That’s one in three,” Bush said. “Nearly, 2,400 Americans die of CDV each day. An average of one death every 37 seconds. CVD claims about as many lives each year as cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents and diabetes mellitus combined. That’s why the work that the American Heart Association does is so important.”

The Pike County Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk fundraising campaign is under way and teams are working to raise funds in the fight against heart diseases and to raise awareness of ways to lessen the risks CVD by changing one’s lifestyle, Bush said.

“There are major risk factors that cannot be changed, such as gender, heredity and increasing age,” she said. “But there are major risk factors that can be modified, treated or controlled be changing your lifestyle or taking medicine.”

Bush said those factors include tobacco smoke, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical activity, obesity and overweight and diabetes mellitus.

“Other factors that contribute to heart disease risk are stress, alcohol and diet and nutrition,” she said. “Being aware of the factors that we can modify or control and acting on those can greatly reduce the risks of heart disease.”

Bringing awareness of the factors that contribute to heart disease and ways to reduce that risk will be a focus on the 2009 Pike County Heart Walk on Feb. 19 at Cattleman Park.

“This year, we are going to place greater emphasis on awareness and prevention,” Bush said. “We will have a broader health fair with health education instructors and nurses available to conduct blood pressure checks and answer questions. We will have displays about heart disease, preventive measures and recipes for healthy eating.

The 2009 Heart Walk campaign will conclude on Feb. 19 at Cattleman Park when the teams and individuals join heart disease survivors for a night of celebration of the victories won and dedication to continue the fight.

The Heart Walk will be from 5:30 until 8 p.m. In addition to the Walk, the Health Fair and displays, there will be entertainment and food and fellowship. Subway will furnish sandwiches for the early walkers and Wal-Mart will provide healthy snack items.