Heart Smart Week a huge success

Organisers of the annual Heart Smart Week said this year’s event educated hundreds of people about the importance of a healthy heart.

Events included a cardiac symposium on Thursday night, 3 March, at St. Matthew’s University, which was attended by more than 200 healthcare practitioners, each of whom received three hours of Continuing Medical Education credits.

Friday’s Red Dress Learn and Live Luncheon at Grand Old House was sold out and 210 women, all dressed in red, found out more about the dangers of cardiovascular disease – the No. 1 killer in the Cayman Islands.

Throughout Cayman, workers, business owners and school children supported the initiative by donning red for Friday’s Red Dress Down Day.

Dr. Sook Yin, medical director of the Cayman Heart Fund, which organised Heart Smart Week, said on Monday that the Fund had already received a cheque for $700 from Savannah Primary where students all dressed in red.

The finale of the week was the Heart Health Fair on Saturday, 5 March, at the Arts and Recreation Centre in Camana Bay, which attracted more than 800 people.

“Out of that number, we screened 300-plus adults and children who now know their numbers. We picked up a significant number of attendees who didn’t know they had high blood pressure or diabetes,” Dr. Yin said.

Governor Duncan Taylor and his wife Marie-Beatrice were at the fair and had their blood pressure and blood sugar levels checked.

The Cayman Islands Blood Bank had a booth at the fair and signed up 28 new donors – a single day sign-up record.

Each person who registered to be a blood donor received a plant from Vigoro Nursery.

“The very fact that an hour before the fair opened, people were queuing up wanting to be screened, is testimonial that such a programme is very much needed in our community. For some of them, this is the only avenue where they can come to get this sort of check-up for free,” said Dr. Yin.

At the luncheon on Friday, she revealed that last year’s screenings by the Cayman Heart Fund showed that half of those checked were overweight and a third of those screened over the age of 20 were obese.

She said 6 per cent were diagnosed for the first time as having high blood sugar rates and 15 per cent had high cholesterol. “These people didn’t know they had it until their first screening with us,” she said.

She added that, of the 345 children screened in the Fund’s Health4Youth programme, 36 per cent were obese, with the heaviest child, at 11 years old, being 142lbs.

Other figures showed that of those children, 60 per cent were at risk of becoming or were already overweight; 23 per cent of those in the obese category had elevated blood pressure; 27 per cent of those in the obese category had elevated cholesterol levels; and 17 per cent of those in the obese category had elevated levels of insulin, increasing their risk of diabetes; and two children were found to be diabetic.

“These are staggering statistics and we, ladies, play a leading role of wife and mother in the family [and] have the power to influence the behaviour and lifestyle of our family members to look after their bodies and become more heart healthy,” Dr. Yin told the assembled, mostly female, audience at the luncheon.