The JPS Community Outreach team hosted a Go Red Lunch and Learn at the Como Community Center on Saturday, February 25, to educate patients and community members about the importance of maintaining a healthy heart. The team provided tips to increase heart health and gave healthy Mediterranean lunch options.
"It's important to provide awareness because many people don't understand heart health or need additional support," says Kandra Torrence, PhD, Community Outreach Manager. "So, this is our way of taking time outside the traditional hospital setting to educate in the community on ways to increase their quality of life."
The event is part of the JPS Community Health & Wellness Program pilot in the Como community. Education on heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses were indicated as a need for the community, so in light of Heart Health Month, the team decided to address those needs.
"We have too many patients who have events they shouldn't. 90 percent of strokes and about 70 percent of heart attacks are preventable,” says Stroke Program CNS Lauri Speirs, RN, ACNS-BC, PCCN, CNRN, SCRN. “It's just from doing simple things like watching your weight, getting enough sleep, not smoking, controlling your blood pressure. If you have diabetes, controlling your blood glucose, and watching your cholesterol."
During the presentation, Speirs taught attendees ways they could improve their overall cardiovascular health by doing simple things like parking a bit further in a parking lot instead of finding the closest spot, to get more exercise. She also educated the individuals of the Como community on the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and strokes.
"For heart attacks, chest pain: whether it's dull, aching, or sudden throbbing that feels like an elephant on your chest," Speirs said. "Women have slightly different symptoms than men. Women may have back pain or more stomach-type pain. Men will have crushing chest pain that radiates into their jaw or arm. Also, if you have shortness of breath, consider that something to check on."
Along with the event, attendees had the opportunity to get their blood pressure taken by TCU Medical Students, who could advise and instruct them to visit a clinic if their vitals were high. Controlling blood pressure is essential when managing heart health. If you or a loved one experiences symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, it is best to act quickly because a quick response reduces the amount of damage to the individual's heart.
"Be mindful and listen to your body," Speirs said. "If you think something is wrong, act on it. Don't call a friend. Don't take a nap. Don't wait until your physician opens the next day. Call 9-1-1.”
Tarrant County Hospital District Board of Managers Chair Dorothy Debose attended the event in her Como Community to learn how to keep herself healthy. She felt hosting this event in the community is essential to provide much-needed resources.
"Hosting events like this will benefit the community by making attendees aware of the benefits available," Debose said. “It will help them identify their needs and educate them on their health. If we want our patients to participate in their health, we must educate them, so I thank JPS for coming out and presenting."