Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Heart Foundation calls for proactive heart care

Six-year-old Craig Richards lies still for his electrocardiogram test at the Heart Foundation. (Photo contributed)

Six-year-old Craig Richards lies still for his electrocardiogram test at the Heart Foundation. (Photo contributed)

With heart disease as the leading cause of death globally and in Jamaica, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ), through its mandate of “Promoting Heart Health in Jamaica” aims to reduce the number of premature cardiovascular deaths and disabilities.

Speaking with media and reporters at a recent tour of the HFJ facilities, senior manager responsible for marketing and fund development at the HFJ, Karen Anderson, pinpointed that high blood pressure, diabetes, and physical inactivity are among the causes for cardiovascular diseases.

“The Heart Foundation plays a vital role in promoting heart health by offering screening and advanced cardiac services; training and certification; health promotion and advocacy and membership. Through these service offerings, we are encouraging persons to adopt a more healthy lifestyle before they reach the point of having to fight for their heart health.”

“The HFJ provides screening services ranging from basic screening tests such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and ECG tests to more advanced tests, Echocardiograms, stress tests and others, which have benefited over 100,000 individuals in 2017 alone.” she added.

Taneisha Goldson, a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instructor at the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, demonstrates how to do emergency CPR to a group of media representatives during a recent tour of the facility.

The foundation has a year-round mobile screening service programme to check for heart diseases in persons island-wide. The mobile service also provides two advanced tests, the Echocardiogram and Holter Monitor services, which are available by appointment in select areas.

In ensuring that services are available to all Jamaicans, the HFJ has responded to the needs of persons who have mobility challenges, and in so doing has introduced a Home Visit Programme (HVP).

Also, with obesity being a global epidemic linked to the growth of non-communicable diseases, the HFJ has partnered with the Ministry of Health and Jamaica Moves on an Obesity Prevention Programme. Through this initiative, the HFJ serves as health promoters and advocates for the prevention and reduction of obesity in adults and children in Jamaica.

“Obesity is a major concern for Jamaica and Jamaicans. Results from the 2017 Global School-based Student Health Survey has shown that there has been a 76 per cent increase in obesity in adults over the past 16 years. Obesity in boys increased by 94 per cent from 5.3 per cent to 10.3 per cent and by 47 per cent in girls from 6.7 per cent to 9.7 per cent. If persons do not get proactive with their health, the numbers will continue to grow,” Anderson concluded.

The HFJ encourages Jamaicans to take advantage of not just their service offerings but also the training and certification programmes.

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