Hundreds turn out for free health checks

Dr. Bella Beraha checks a patient’s blood pressure.

Cayman Islands residents wanting to get a free health exam started lining up between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. – more than an hour before opening – at Camana Bay’s ARC building for the 9th annual Cayman Heart Fund health fair.

Physicians and volunteering medical students were on hand to administer checks for high blood pressure, diabetes, height-weight ratios (body mass index), cholesterol and for other “early warning signs” of heart disease and illness.

Dr. Bella Beraha with Helix Healthcare Group, who has participated in the health fair for the last four years, was checking blood pressure for dozens of residents. Dr. Beraha said the Heart Smart Health Fair always draws a big turnout.

“We see a lot of people here because of the fact that they either don’t have healthcare or their benefit plans have so little money to do general wellness checks,” she said. “The basic plan in many instances only has $200 to $250 a year for wellness exams.” The heart fund’s Colleen Dahlstrom said more than 800 people attended last year’s health fair and that about 200 of those received free health checks.

This year’s fair was attended by representatives of local healthcare organizations and hospitals including the Health Services Authority, the Heart Health Center, Health City Cayman Islands, Johns Hopkins, Broward Health, The Cleveland Clinic and Jackson Memorial Hospital.

In addition to the health checks, nutritionists were on hand from some of the hospitals to give advice on eating healthy. Karate, dancing and yoga activities were also held at the event, which ran from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Cayman Heart Fund is a non-profit organization whose goal is to reduce heart and circulatory disease in Cayman. The heart fund says cardiovascular disease is the “No. 1 health problem” in the Cayman Islands.

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  1. It seems that they continue to ignore the latest scientific fact that cholesterol has nothing to do with heath attacks and never heard of PLAC test (under$100) which predicts risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in people with no prior history of cardiovascular events. Nearly 75 percent of people hospitalized for a heart attack had cholesterol levels that would indicate they were NOT at high risk fora cardiovascular event.