COLUMBIA – A quick finger prick causes a tiny drop of blood to trickle out.
At the Boone Hospital Center Heart Fair, a relatively painless finger prick estimates total cholesterol level as well as the levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar. Results are available in just seven minutes.
HEARTS AT RISK
Heart disease contributes to more than one out of four deaths in Missouri, according to the 2009 National Vital Statistics report. The 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported these heart disease and stroke risk factors for adults in Missouri:
- 29.4 percent had high blood pressure
- 39.5 percent of those screened reported having high blood cholesterol
- 8.0 percent had diabetes
- 24.5 percent were current smokers
- 63.3 percent were overweight or obese
- 51.2 percent reported zero exercise in the previous 30 days
- 79.8 percent ate fruit and vegetables less than five times a day
The annual Heart Fair held in the hospital’s conference center on Thursday morning provided cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index screenings — all for free.
Educational information at the event covered risk factors associated with heart problems, including cardiovascular health, stroke risks, smoking dangers, dental health, exercise health and nutrition.
Brenda Wilson, a founder and coordinator of the event and a nurse in cardiac rehabilitation and diabetes education, said more than 500 people attended this year’s event and more than 600 showed up last year. She said the Heart Fair is "pretty much the biggest community event” Boone Hospital sponsors.
Most of the people who showed up Thursday were older than 50, Wilson said, though some were college-aged students.
The cholesterol screening was the most popular test, Wilson said. In addition to showing both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, the test measures blood sugar — an important indicator for prediabetes.
The Heart Fair had tables full of educational poster boards and handouts, as well as experts for people to talk to. People wound through stations picking up information and having their blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol tested. They then entered a results room to receive their numbers and go over the results.
The professionals in the results room interpreted the results so it’s not just about handing people a set of numbers but letting them know what the numbers mean, said Jacob Luecke, media relations specialist for Boone Hospital Center.
Everything at the fair was free and was made possible by the Boone Hospital Foundation, Luecke said.
“If we just ate well, moved more and paid attention to portions, we would be in much better shape,” Wilson said. “It’s really about eating well overall.”