Along with equipping the public with the tools they need for a healthier heart, CMC will highlight its role in treating heart-related afflictions at Saturday's Cartersville Has Heart. To be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the free community event at the Clarence Brown Conference Center -- 5450 State Route 20 in Cartersville -- will feature a wide array of offerings, from health screenings and interactive medical stations to nutritional information and cooking demonstrations.
"Our main goal is that our community be better educated on how to care for their heart, that they, No. 1, preventatively care for their hearts in keeping cardiovascular disease from developing, by making good lifestyle choices," said Sarah Demmin, RN, cardiovascular service line director at CMC. "Nutrition education will be provided [as well as] fitness demonstrations, cooking demonstrations, smoking cessation, cardiac rehab, different exercise [offerings and] health screenings, so they can evaluate the health of their heart and make good choices.
"And then we also want them to have an understanding of how Cartersville takes care of their heart. So the event will be actually built around the flow of what happens if you do have an emergency event and how we take care of you. From early heart attack care within the community, CPR and 911, to the 911 Bartow EMS dispatch, then coming into our ER and how we take care of you there. And then the cath lab will have a booth, talking about what we do in an emergency situation. Then if you ever need a transport to say our sister facility Redmond [Regional Medical Center in Rome] for open heart surgery, how we accomplish that as well. And then Redmond will have a booth as well. So following that whole timeline and that process all the way through as well as really focusing on how you can take better care of your heart, that's really the purpose of the event."
During the event, free health screenings will be conducted, focusing on blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. An AngioScreen, a non-invasive vascular screening, also will be available for $40.
Other offerings will include an inflatable AmeriHeart display, where people will be able to walk through an anatomically correct heart exhibit; fitness demonstrations by Ladies Fitness and CAIR Plus Fitness Center; fashion show by Belk; a heart-healthy cooking demonstration; food that can be purchased, courtesy of Louie's Cafe; CPR demonstrations by CPR with Mickey; and a surprise offering at noon.
"We started out having the event last year as a kick off event to showcase our new cardiac cath lab that was performing PCI, which is percutaneous coronary intervention," said Ginger Tyra, CMC's director of marketing and public relations. "We had just begun that service, so we wanted to show that off. ... The reason we wanted to have the event again is because, No. 1, we had such a good response for that first event and it was so well attended that we actually had to move the location. We had to change venues this year.
"We loved having the event first at our facility but we outgrew it in one year. So that's why we made the decision to move the event to the Clarence Brown Conference Center this year. [Of all the offerings] probably the health screenings really stood out as being very favorable last year and there [was] a high interest. We do the free health screenings, which test your cholesterol, blood sugar or glucose [and] blood pressure. Then [another] thing that was very well attended was the AngioScreens. We offered discounted AngioScreens as we are again doing this year. ... I think [the interactive medical stations] is what I'm most excited about because you go to a conference or an expo and so many times you just get bogged down with brochures, with fliers, with all types of reading material. So this year, we decided to really take that a step further and make it more like what you would see at an actual hospital and be very interactive," she said, noting some of the stations will feature emergency heart attack care; an ambulance, representing 911 and Bartow EMS; ER staff responding to code situations with a CPR dummy; and pictures of and equipment utilized in the CMC heart cath lab.
Since last year's Cartersville Has Heart event, Demmin revealed the amount of time in which a person experiencing pain called 911 in Bartow County has dramatically dropped. Encouraged by this new figure, she said the need for people to quickly call for help also will be emphasized at Saturday's gathering.
"It was 24 hours and we found that it fell pretty consistently throughout the year and now we're at an average of about four, four and a half hours," Demmin said. "When you start having pain, your heart is actually experiencing damage and the longer you wait, the more damage you have and it's going to limit the function of your heart and of you further on in your life. Even if we're able to get in and open the blockage, you can sustain such an amount of damage that it's going to greatly impact how you can daily walk around and do your activities. Early symptoms are going to be the typical chest pain, pressure. Women actually present with abdominal pain, jaw pain, neck pain. Many people present with an indigestion that just won't go away with other treatments and then also a feeling of dizziness, perfuse sweating for no reason. Those are some of the very typical symptoms that people present with.
"Heart disease in general is a huge topic for us. I think ... the hospital really wanted to show that we're committed in our concern with that in going interventional with our lab and interventional means that we can open the blockages within the heart, especially in emergency situations. We all have family and friends in this community so we're very invested and want to make sure that not only can we treat the emergencies but we want our community to be better able to prevent them and that means lifestyle changes that I mentioned earlier with better choices in eating, exercise, smoking cessation, knowing what your risk factors are so you know whether or not you need medication."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women. Each year about 785,000 Americans experience their first heart attack. The CDC's latest data reports heart disease accounted for nearly one in every four U.S. deaths, or about 25 percent, in 2008.
"Cardiovascular disease is just a huge problem in our country," Demmin said. "Statistically, we are higher than many other countries as far as the actual prevalence of the disease. For women specifically, cardiovascular disease actually kills one in three women and it outnumbers the next seven causes of death for women but it's not something that's generally focused on. So that's why you'll see such a big push. We want everyone to be aware but definitely [there is] a big push as far as the focus on women and their signs and symptoms ... and just an understanding from a woman's standpoint.
"We take care of everybody else and we really need to take care of ourselves when it comes to these signs and symptoms so that we can continue to care for the people that we love. Because again, if you wait then you sustain a lot more damage and it greatly affects your life afterwards whereas if you react immediately ... their quality of life and their ability to enjoy the type of life that they want, they have a much higher chance of that."
For more information about Saturday's Cartersville Has Heart, call MedLine at 800-242-5662.