Heart-healthy Fair for Montego Bay on September 29
A group of western Jamaica-based doctors, led by heart specialist Dr Claudine Lewis, will offer free ECGs and full cholesterol profiles to Montegonians on World Heart Day, Monday, September 29.
Dr Lewis, who operates the Heart Smart Centre at Montego Freeport, in collaboration with MicroLabs and Fairview Optical, said the Heart-healthy Fair will be held at Sam Sharpe Square, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"The first 40 persons over age 40 to register will receive the service valued at $7,000 each free. After the first 40 free ECG and cholesterol screens, these tests will be offered for $500 each, a combined cost of $1,000," she said, adding that there would also be free blood pressure, body mass index and blood sugar checks and eye screenings.
According to the heart specialist, who headed the Cardiovascular Unit at the Cornwall Regional Hospital for the last five years, this health fair was highly critical as it would serve to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease while providing an opportunity for early detection. Most cardiovascular cases do not produce any symptoms, leading to the name 'Silent Killer'.
"Current estimates from the World Health Organization indicate that some 17 million people die from the disease worldwide annually. This includes heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease. Ten years ago, this represented 30 per cent of all global deaths. That number is growing and is expected to double by 2030," Dr Lewis said. She also said that in Jamaica cardiovascular disease remains one of the leading causes of death, accounting for four out of five in 2004.
"We will be on site to offer expert ECG interpretation and recommendations for follow-up of persons with abnormal screens," she explained.
World Heart Day is the mission of the World Heart Federation, with member countries all over the world sharing the same goal of raising awareness about heart disease through education and screening, as well as lobbying for institutional changes to make heart-healthy lifestyles the focus.
This year's theme 'Creating Heart-healthy Environments', pays attention to banning smoking in public, a move already embraced by Jamaica's Ministry of Health, along with promoting heart-healthy choices at work, home and play.