Why knowing your risk factors now may prevent a heart attack 10 years from now

Whatmedical’s considered the three critical numbers for Americans to know are also three numbers that Health Improvement Supervisor Gordon Opel with The Summit Medical Fitness Center in Kalispell says many people don’t know: blood pressure, BMI or Body Mass Index, or their lipids and glucose levels. Opel said they’re pertinent to your heart health, knowing when they’re at dangerous levels can help you reduce the risk of a heart attack.

The Mayo Clinic offers an online tool to help people calculate their risk by looking at general information about your health and lifestyle.

Screening for these levels would generally be done during a visit to your doctor’s office, but Opel said that could run someone without health insurance $100 or more.

Kalsipell Regional Medical Center is offering a free Heart Health Fair this Saturday.

Free screenings check for different risks for heart disease, and heart failure:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Lipids
  • Glucose
  • Body Composition (BMI)
  • Sleep Patterns
  • Blood Oxygen
  • Depression
  • Diabetes Patients – circulation screening

Something new this year is the Ask-A-Nurse station where participants can bring their screening results for analysis from a nurse.

Cardiology Nurse Practitioner Jean Rohrer says the nurse will be able to tell participants what the numbers from their screenings mean, and what they can do if the numbers are showing a high risk of heart disease.

Rohrer said they’ll be conducting a Global Risk Assessment to analyze the likelihood of a person developing cardiovascular disease over the next 10 years. Rohrer said sometimes just taking a short walk after dinner or cutting out the salt can reduce your risks of heart disease.

“I think the model of health care is changing it can no longer be provider to patient, we want it person to person,” Rohrer said, “and prevention’s got to be at the heart of the matter.”

KRMC’s Heart Health Fair is Saturday, February 9th from 8 AM to 1PM at the Flathead Valley Community College’s Arts and Technology building.

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