The University of Richmond is celebrating Heart Month this February by sponsoring the American Heart Association’s campaign to combat heart disease.
Tracy Cassalia, manager of health education and wellness at the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness, said the AHA’s national Go Red for Women movement was specifically designed to raise awareness of heart disease in females, whereas the University of Richmond’s Go Red effort was more broad in its audience.
A gym member went into cardiac arrest four years ago at the Weinstein Center, and since then, spreading awareness about heart disease has become a more personal project for the staff, Cassalia said.
Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to sign up for the free cholesterol and blood pressure screenings that are being offered in the Weinstein Center. Participants in these complimentary screenings will learn their cholesterol levels and blood pressure readings, which not only increases understanding of personal health, but can also reveal the necessity for lifestyle changes, Cassalia said.
Karen Hensley, campus dietician, said she was available to assist anyone who needed to make modifications to his or her diet based on the results of the screenings.
Also available at the Weinstein Center are pamphlets from the Bon Secours Richmond Health System, which detail how people can reduce their risk of heart disease and explain the medical options available to those who are dealing with heart-related issues.
In line with the national Go Red campaign, the outside of the Weinstein Center will be illuminated in red during February. This has been part of the campus Go Red movement for the past five years, and last year, a photo of the Weinstein Center, lit in red, was featured on the AHA website, alongside landmarks such as the Washington Monument and Mount Rushmore, Cassalia said.
The recognition of Heart Month began with national Wear Red Day on Friday, Feb. 1, and on Friday, Feb. 8, Dr. Vipal Sabharwal from Bon Secours Heart and Vascular Institute came to campus to give a presentation on heart health. In this talk, Sabharwal explained the main causes of cardiovascular disease and discussed what lifestyle changes a person could make to reduce his or her risk, Cassalia said.
The recognition and promotion of Heart Month is all about making people more educated about their health through the acknowledgment of potential risks, Cassalia said. It seems to be working.
In past years, the participation in blood pressure and cholesterol screenings was minimal, but this year, there are few vacancies in the screening schedule, Cassalia said.
Anyone interested in participating in the final screening, which will be on Wednesday, Feb. 20, can register online: http://recreation.richmond.edu/health-wellness/go-red.html.
Contact reporter Katie Conklin at firstname.lastname@example.org