"The purpose is really to reach out and include and involve our community in our efforts to provide care, with specifically cardiac care," said RN Sarah Demmin, director of cardiovascular services at CMC. "We can equip our hospital and train our employees to take specialized care of heart patients, but really that should never be the end of our responsibility. Our responsibility as a healthcare provider for the community is to equip the community as well to better care for themselves and their heart.
"So I think that's really the purpose of this event -- is that we really want to equip our community with the knowledge and some practical plans, how-tos for taking care of their hearts ... It's definitely an issue that we want to highlight. We really want our community to identify us as a place and a resource to treat their heart disease, whether it be from education or actually receiving treatment at our facility with our new cath lab being able to provide interventional procedures so that we can correct the blockages here. That's really our goal. We want them to see us as their resource and as their partner in taking care of cardiovascular disease within our community."
During the event, health screenings will be conducted, focusing on blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index. Cardiac services will be highlighted by a cardiac cath lab video, cardiac rehab information, and Dr. Maxwell Prempeh and Dr. Ted Perry will be on-site. An AngioScreen, a non-invasive vascular screening, also will be available for $25.
Other offerings will include smoking cessation information by Pfizer; CPR education and class details by Larry Owens; fitness demonstration by Ladies Fitness; fashion show by Belk; a heart-healthy cooking demonstration and sampling; and the opportunity to win an Adina Reyter heart pendant with a donation to the American Heart Association, courtesy of Stiles Jewelers.
"I think initially we do want it to be a screening tool," Demmin said. "We want them to take away a little bit more knowledge. It's by no means a comprehensive screening but [it provides] just a few key things with blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol. So it can let them know whether they're at a higher risk for developing heart disease so that they [will] come away with some knowledge of that.
"And then we also want them to understand how they can prevent that in their lives. If they have existing heart disease, these are things -- the practical how-tos -- [such as] eating, exercise, [quitting] smoking. All of those [are] very basic things, but they're how you prevent further heart disease [and] also prevent it to begin with."
According to the American Heart Association's estimates, more than 82 million U.S. adults have at least one type of cardiovascular disease, which amounts to one in three individuals. While the medical community has excelled in educating the public about heart-related issues, Demmin said more emphasis needs to be placed on women's health. Along with heart disease being the number one killer of women 20 and older, the AHA also reports 90 percent of women have at least one risk factor for its development.
"We understand especially the symptoms for men," she said. "We've done a great job of educating the public that heart disease in men or heart attacks can show up with these classic symptoms -- crushing chest pain, pressure in your chest, maybe some numbing and tingling down your arm, shortness of breath, those kinds of things. But what we have not really addressed and what we underestimate is the impact on women, especially.
"One in three women die of heart disease and more women die of cardiovascular disease than the next four causes of death combined, including cancer. So we've done a wonderful job educating ourselves for the importance for men but I think the illustration for women is a good indication of how serious it is and how little we pay attention to that. [Women's symptoms] can be something as simple as jaw pain ... neck pain, abdominal pain, upper back pain sometimes. I think the fatigue many times is one of the only symptoms that women have. And those are not things that you generally think of, but they are very typical symptoms for women, elderly and diabetic patients. It is a serious -- very, very serious -- problem in our country."
With heart-related ailments touching such a large amount of the nation's population, Cartersville resident Lisa Cline and her husband, David, have seen its impact on even the smallest of individuals. Born with congenital heart defects on Sept. 30, their son, Nathan Cline, has undergone two open-heart surgeries and will face more as he grows older.
"I couldn't believe the number of kids," Lisa Cline said, referring to when her child stayed at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston for seven weeks. "I had never heard of a child having this many problems or having open-heart surgery. I guess later on, in hindsight, I assumed that happened sometimes, but the hospital was full. The cardiac ICU was full. I met so many families with children with heart disease down there that I've stayed in touch with.
"And I've met several whose children passed away while I was there and even since I've been home. They'll just be having a good day and they'll pass away. It's just something you don't imagine. I have a 5-year-old daughter, and so when I was pregnant this time, I didn't worry about having a healthy child. I just took it for granted that it was going to happen because we're healthy. It was just amazing what you see down there and how close the families become to each other -- like family."
For more information about Saturday's Cartersville Has Heart, call MedLine at 800-242-5662.