Lowering cholesterol to acceptable levels significantly reduces the risk of developing coronary artery disease. Cholesterol travels in the bloodstream in small packages called lipoproteins.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is sometimes called bad cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol leads to a buildup of cholesterol in arteries. The higher the LDL level in your blood, the greater chance you have of getting heart disease.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is sometimes called good cholesterol. HDL carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. The liver removes the cholesterol from your body. The higher your HDL cholesterol level, the lower your chance of getting heart disease.
Your cholesterol can be measured simultaneously from a single drop of blood using rapid, accurate technology. Vernon Memorial Healthcare can provide these results to you using a portable Cholestech LDX machine. The LDX system has the same level of accuracy and precision provided by laboratories with a turnaround time of minutes instead of days.
Screenings are held the first Wednesday of every month from 6:30am-7:30am and the third Wednesday of every month from 7:30am-9:30am. A Lipid Panel (includes Glucose) is $40 and Total Cholesterol and Glucose is $20.
For more information contact Community Health Education at 637-4298.
B. Stroke Prevention
Stroke is a brain attack, cutting off vital blood and oxygen to the brain cells that control everything we do—from speaking, to walking, to breathing. Most strokes occur when arteries are blocked by blood clots or by the gradual build up of plaque and other fatty deposits. Some strokes can be caused by arteries rupturing when weak spots on the blood vessel wall break
Everyone has some stroke risk. A few stroke risk factors are beyond your control, such as being over age 55, being a male, being an African American, having diabetes, and having a family history of stroke. If you have one of these risk factors, it is even more important that you learn about lifestyle and medical changes you can make to prevent stroke.
Vernon Memorial Healthcare offers a yearly Stroke Prevention Screening. Participants receive a lipid cholesterol panel, EKG and pulse check, carotid bruit auscultation, blood pressure check, height and weight check and complete a health history questionnaire.
The most common stroke symptoms are:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg-especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
For more information on Stroke Prevention or the annual Stroke Prevention Screening please contact Vernon Memorial Healthcare Community Health Education at 637-4298.
C. Fall Prevention
Have you or someone you know ever experienced a fall or a loss of balance? This could include slipping, stumbling or tripping over something as simple as a throw rug. Maybe you have a fear of falling. If you answered yes you are not alone. Statistics show that more than one third of adults age 65 and older fall each year.
The VMH Physical Therapy Department has developed a Fall Prevention Program to aid those in the community who have fallen, have a fear of falling or are at an increased risk for falls. The program includes a detailed personal evaluation process to assess balance, strength, mobility and ambulation. Therapists will address home safety or potential caregiver concerns and upon completion of the evaluation, recommendations may include the use of an assistive device, outpatient physical therapy or an appropriate referral depending upon the findings. Information that includes tips to prevent falls and individualized home exercise programs will be provided.
If you tend to lose your balance, have had a fall, or have a fear of falling and feel you may benefit from this program, contact your primary care provider for a referral to the VMH Fall Prevention Program.
D. Skin Cancer
Risk factors for skin cancer include the following:
- Having a fair complexion (blond or red hair, fair skin, freckles, blue eyes).
- Being exposed to natural sunlight or ultraviolet light (such as tanning booths) over long periods of time.
- Being white and older than 20 years.
- Having several large or many small moles.
- Having a family history of unusual moles.
- Having a family or personal history of melanoma.
The best defense against skin cancer is protection from sunlight and ultraviolet light.
Skin examinations are commonly used to screen for skin cancer.
Regular examination of the skin by both you and your doctor increases the chance of early detection of skin cancer. Monthly self-examination of the skin may help fin changes that should be reported to a doctor.
Vernon Memorial Healthcare periodically offers free skin cancer screenings. A VMH provider will examine your skin and make a referral if an area on the skin looks abnormal.
E. Blood Pressure Checks
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as it is carried from the heart to all parts of your body. Each time the heart beats (about 60-70 times a minute at rest), it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is at its highest when the heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When the heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is the diastolic pressure.
For most of your waking hours, your blood pressure stays pretty much the same when you are sitting or standing still. That level should be lower than 120/80. When the level stays high, 140/90 or higher, you have high blood pressure. With high blood pressure, the heart works harder, your arteries take a beating, and your chances of a stroke, heart attack, and kidney problems are greater.
Vernon Memorial Healthcare offers free blood pressure screenings throughout the community. Your blood pressure can also be checked by a registered nurse at your local medical clinic.