HOUSTON - It's National Women's Health Week, and it's important for us to know our health numbers! CVS Minute Clinics want to help you with that, so they're offering free exams the week of May 10.
We’re talking about five important key numbers that can help determine your risk of heart disease, including two forms of cholesterol (HDL/LDL), blood pressure, blood sugar, and your body mass index.
"It's very important because heart disease is the number one cause of death in both men and women, and in the United States, approximately 655,000 Americans die each year, and that's about one in every four deaths, according to the CDC, and as a result of the pandemic. Many of us have skipped our annual physicals, especially women! We're so busy, we haven't gone to the doctor's office to do our regular heart check. So for women it's really important that we take the time to check," explains Grace Akinbobola, Nurse Practitioner with CVS Minute Clinics.
That's why select CVS Minute Clinics are offering free screenings this week for you to find out those numbers and they're also offering it to men!
"We encourage people to be fasting, because we'll be checking the cholesterol levels, which is good and bad cholesterol. The LDL and HDL, we check the glucose to see if anyone has a risk for diabetes. We also check your blood pressure and we also check to see if someone is at risk for obesity and other diseases that are correlated to have obesity," states Grace.
Heart disease is one of the few conditions that can often be reversed, so once you know those numbers, if they're not in a normal range, you can concentrate on a healthy diet and exercise to try to improve them. The pandemic has fueled a firestorm for our hearts.
"For most Houstonians the pandemic has caused us to be cooped up in the home. I can attest to this myself, we haven't gone anywhere in over a year, other than work and home. So this means that we're walking less, getting less exercise, and for some, we're snacking more, we're in the refrigerator more, some people are smoking more, alcohol consumption is elevated because people have more time to be home and do these things, and all of these behaviors contribute to elevated risk for heart disease," explains Grace.
We’re also finding out the COVID is affecting the heart of many patients.
"Once people have had COVID, we've been able to see in research that there could be some long-term effects on the heart. So it's extremely important to get into the doctor's office, come to the CVS, we have this great heart health screening, and get your heart checked, because COVID, whether you know you've had it or are unaware that you've had it, it could be having a detrimental effect on the long-term health of our hearts," says Grace.
If your heart is in distress, here are important signs to remember: "Both men and women may experience some type of chest pain, tightness and discomfort, but women are more likely to have symptoms that are not the usual symptoms, such as nausea, extreme fatigue and when we think of nausea and fatigue, these are not symptoms that we normally correlate with heart disease, but sometimes women especially can present with these symptoms, in relation to heart disease," says Grace.
CVS Health continues their support of the American Heart Association, by raising funds to support the Go Red for Women movement. CVS Pharmacy customers can support it by making a donation at stores or by going online. CVS health has raised nearly $20 million to help fight cardiovascular disease!
For more information about the free heart screenings or to donate: www.cvshealth.com/GoRed