Smart Heart Expo provides health screenings, information for hundreds

By: Blayne Alexander Email
By: Blayne Alexander Email

News 12 at six o'clock -- February 27, 2010

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. --- During the last week of February, News 12 brought you stories of heart attack survivors, along with ways to care for yourself and the tools that can keep you healthy.

And as the Heart Awareness Month came to an end, more than a thousand people came to check their own health at University Hospital’s Smart Heart Expo.

They came by the hundreds. People young and old packed the North Augusta Community Center. Their mission? To get healthy.

Cora Bates is one of them. She's getting her glucose and cholesterol checked -- using technology that will give her results in seconds.

“I’m hoping that it’s going to be better than it was last time,” she says as she settles into her chair at the testing station.

Cora holds out her finger and anticipates the small pin prick as nurse Nicole Williams collects her blood. Less than five minutes later, she has the verdict.

“Your cholesterol is borderline high risk,” Williams tells her. “But everything else is good. Your glucose is 88, so you’re good.”

“I’ve got a little bit more work to do,” Cora says to herself. “But I’m alright!”

It’s all part of University Hospital's annual Smart Heart expo. In addition to the cholesterol tests, people could check their blood pressure and body fat, get some first hand lessons in healthy cooking, and even sit down one on one with a health expert to evaluate their habits – all free of charge.

Debra Whitley is one of those experts. She’s a diabetes specialist with University Hospital and helps patients develop healthy habits by first finding out what they’re already doing.

“Are they following a meal plan, are they exercising regularly,” she says. “In other words, what are they doing to take care of themselves?”

For one couple in their late thirties, the expo is a chance to develop those good habits now, before it’s too late.

“I figure if we go ahead and get a handle on it now, it will be better for the future,” says Denise Cundey as she waited in line for a cholesterol test.

Even twelve-year-old twins Morgan and Camille Hayes got in on the fun, showing it's never too early to get serious about your health.

“I knew it would be fun and we get to see how healthy we are,” says Camille.

And for Cora at age 52, she says she’s pleased with her results.

“It’s better than what I expected,” she says.

And now she's armed with more than new numbers, but a new plan.

“[The nurse] said I need to stop eating so much fatty foods,” she says. “So I can work on that.”

The expo was a chance for people without health insurance to get the care they need. People started forming a line outside more than an hour before the doors opened.

You can see all of our Heart Heart stories from this past week and learn more about heart health by clicking on the link below.


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