Getting a read on heart health at the library

St. Matthew's University medical student Christal Samaroo speaks with an attendee at a testing station in the library.

Amid the shelves holding thousands of books at the Teacher Redley Library in West Bay last weekend nestled screening stations where residents had an opportunity to have their risks of heart disease and other serious health issues checked.

On Saturday, 17 July, after the staff and volunteers of the Cayman Heart Fund transformed the library into a healthy heart clinic for its first health screening of 2021, more than 70 people showed up to get their check-ups.

The CHF’s free health screenings include family history, height, weight, waist measurement and BMI, blood pressure, and a blood test to show an individual’s sugar, cholesterol, HDL or ‘good  cholesterol’, triglycerides, and glucose levels.

According to a press release from the CHF, Nigel and Deby Coles travelled from North Side for the event.

“I take a statin for high cholesterol and needed an up-to-date cholesterol test so I can
get my prescription renewed,” said Nigel Coles. “My wife and I have both not worked for more than a year now and we need to be really careful with our pennies. Health is an important priority, so we are really grateful to the Cayman Heart Fund for making this available.”

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Maureen Cubbon, CHF’s vice chairperson, said in the release, “Despite the enormous advances in medical science and technology, heart and circulatory diseases remain the number one cause of death in the Cayman Islands and around the world. Our free health screening program provides an opportunity for people, regardless of their status or insurance coverage, to discover their risk of having heart disease or a cardiac event such as heart attack or stroke.”

Suzy Soto, founder and chair emeritus of CHF, said, “Knowing your numbers is one of the most important steps you can take to manage your cardiovascular health – even if you think you’re healthy.”

She thanked Dr. Amitabha Basu, dean of basic sciences, medical students at St Matthews Medical School, as well as Dr. Gabor Xantus, Dr. Nyali Taylor, Dr. Michelle Mon
Desir, and nurses Kelly Watson and Diane Obana who volunteer their services at heart health screenings.

The release noted that studies have shown that individuals with underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, are more vulnerable to the worst outcomes of coronavirus pandemic.

“Knowing your numbers and being able to talk to a clinician who can help you interpret the results is one way to protect yourself and slow the spread of the disease. Lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, losing weight, reducing alcohol consumption, moving, or exercising more, limiting stress, visiting your doctor and following a clinician’s advice, as well as other positive lifestyle changes can help to reduce cardiac risk,” CHF stated.

The heart health screening at the library came about after librarian Marcia Davis, who holds a free health symposium for library patrons every year, asked CHF to speak to the local community about heart health at the symposium. The team said the next logical step was to hold a screening there.

“We hope to team up with the Cayman Islands Public Library Service for future events so that we can bring our free heart health screening program to every district in Grand
Cayman,” Allison Olarou, CHF coordinator, said in the release.

For more information on the CHF’s Health Screening Programme, including information about future events or if you wish to make to make a donation, visit CHF website or contact Allison Olarou at the Cayman Heart Fund on 916 6324 or [email protected].

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