FARMINGTON — February is National Heart Month, and, to celebrate, San Juan Regional Medical Center is hosting its sixth annual Goosebump Race and A Fair of the Heart health fair on Feb. 22.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and the hospital's events are geared toward educating the community about heart disease and motivating people to play an active role in their own heart health.
"This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about heart disease," said Barbara Charles, Cardiac Service line director for the hospital's Heart Center. "Awareness not just about the disease, but also about prevention."
As in previous years, A Fair of the Heart health fair will include free training on CPR and automated external defibrillators for individuals 12 and older, as well as free cardiac screenings, including baseline electrocardiograms and blood pressure and body mass index assessments. San Juan Regional Heart Center cardiologists will also be available to answer questions and discuss cardiac health issues. Heart-healthy nutrition information and healthy snacks will be offered.
All health fair events are free and open to the public.
Starting at 11 a.m. Feb. 22, the Goosebump 5K race and one mile fun run/walk begins. Charles said the events provide a chance for people to stay active during the winter months.
"Whether someone wants to come out and just walk a mile, or if they're an experienced runner who's trying to keep competitive during the winter, there's something for everyone," she said. "It's a fun way for people of all ages to come and do something good for their heart."
Charles described a mother and daughter who told her they could barely walk the mile the first year they participated in the event. By the second year, they were able to walk the 5K.
"Last year, they were able to run the entire 5K, and they were so proud of themselves," Charles said. "It really inspires me to keep going with this event."
Also as part of the hospital's recognition of National Heart Month, a $15 lipid panel will be available the entire month of February. The lipid panel tests for cholesterol levels, including high-density and low-density lipoproteins and triglycerides, all of which are important indicators of heart health.
Charles said the free CPR and automated external defibrillator trainings offered during the health fair are important because although participants will not receive certification, they will learn what to do in the event of a cardiac emergency.
Both the CPR and defibrillator classes last an hour long. Sessions are limited to 20 people per class, and participants are asked to register before the event on the hospital's website.
"Nine times out of 10 when there's a cardiac emergency, we're the ones who are standing there next to our friends and family who might be having a heart attack," Charles said. "If we know what to do until emergency personnel can arrive, we can really affect the survival rate of that person."