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Wellness event focuses on cardiovascular, heart disease awareness

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --  Matters of the heart -- let's get started! 

Cardiovascular disease and heart disease are affecting the Seymour Johnson community and the 4th Fighter Wing's Health and Wellness Center plans to do something about it. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the nation, as well as in North Carolina. 

The American Heart Association estimates that nearly 2,400 Americans die every day of heart disease. 

This disease affects nearly 23 percent of the total Tricare-enrolled population here. 

Cardiovascular disease largely contributed to two major independent risk factors: high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. Other important risk factors include diabetes, tobacco use, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and being overweight or obese. 

The Health and Wellness Center aims to educate the base community by hosting a heart-walk kickoff, entitled "Matters of the Heart: Let's Get Started!" 

This awareness event is scheduled for Tuesday at the Officer's Club between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

There will be free blood pressure and blood-sugar checks, cholesterol screenings, free weight checks and body mass index calculations. Participants can also take advantage of an individual question and answer session with a medical provider, the installation dietary technician, and the exercise physiologist. 

Participants will receive educational information about cardiovascular disease prevention. 

The goal of the event is to inform our community of the associated risk of cardiovascular diseases and encourage people to make lifestyle changes that are conducive to health and well-being. 

This is one of the first steps to solving a growing issue in our area. Also, our aim is to recruit participants for the internal heart walk tentatively planned for May 11. All proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association. 

Since 1924, the association has helped protect people of all ages and ethnicities from the ravages of heart disease and stroke. 

These diseases, the nation's number one and number three killers, claim more than 910,000 American lives a year. 

The association invested nearly $474 million in fiscal year 2004 for research, professional and public education, advocacy, and community service programs so people across America can live stronger, longer lives. 

The association's funded research has yielded many important discoveries such as life-extending drugs, pacemakers, bypass surgery, the heart-lung machine and surgical techniques to repair heart defects. 

For more information, call 722-0576.
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