TAMPA — It's safe to say most of us fritter away precious moments of our time each and every day. That's especially true on weekends, commonly days off for many folks in the workforce.
But putting a small block of time to good use on Friday morning, Feb. 28, could save your life.
Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute is hosting a free, 15 Minutes for Your Health heart-screening program from 7 a.m. to noon at 3100 E. Fletcher Ave.
Health professionals will be on hand to test participants' cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and body mass index, a body fat measurement based on a person's height and weight.
Medical experts also will be there to discuss the screening results with those who have been tested.
Cardiac care experts, including Dr. Charles Lambert, medical director of Pepin Heart Institute and Kiran C. Patel Research Institute, especially encourage screenings for individuals without primary care physicians or who rarely visit their doctors and as a result do not get regular screenings.
The reason: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women. One in four people die every year due to heart ailments.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, poor diets and excessive alcohol use are all risk factors linked to heart disease.
“Newly revised guidelines for prevention of heart disease all emphasize an initial risk assessment to guide testing and therapy,” Lambert said. “This is what we do at screenings.”
Taking steps to protect your heart against disease is key, Lambert said, because while many people experience chest pain; discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw; shortness of breath; nausea or cold sweats; some have no definitive warning signs of a pending heart attack.
Odessa resident Joe Nuccio is first-hand proof of the latter scenario.
On Labor Day 2013 while enjoying time with some friends at a beach house, he went into full cardiac arrest. Thanks to the immediate and intense CPR administered by a buddy at the beach house and his subsequent triple bypass surgery, he survived to tell about it.
“I had no warning – it was not like I was feeling bad,” said the 63-year-old with a history of heart issues who had undergone an angioplasty procedure in 1987 and about 10 years later another that involved the placement of two cardiac stents to open up his plaque-clogged arteries.
While there is no other history of heart problems in his family, Nuccio “preaches” to his sons about the importance of eating right, exercising and having yearly screenings.
“The 15 minutes it takes is well worth it,” he said.
For more information call (813) 615-7300.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org