Published on February 08, 2019

Nash Heart Center Hosts 2nd Annual Healthy Heart Fair

Reducing the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

February is American Heart Month and the Nash Heart Center is hosting its 2nd annual Healthy Heart Fair on Saturday, February 16, from 10 am until noon. This free event is being held in the lobby of the Nash Heart Center on the Nash UNC Health Care campus, and the public is invited. The first 50 attendees will receive free lipid/glucose testing.

Healthy Heart Fair LogoThe purpose of the Healthy Heart Fair is to educate attendees on how to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Booths will be set up to provide information on nutrition and heart-healthy eating, exercising, smoking cessation, and how to administer hands-only CPR. All attendees are invited to take a guided tour of the Nash Heart Center, too.

“Hospital staff members will be offering free blood pressure checks and measuring BMI (Body Mass Index),” said Sarah Heenan, executive director of the Nash Heart Center.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), over 100 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure, or hypertension – nearly half of all adults – and this number is increasing, in part, due to our aging population and increased life expectancy. The AHA is also quick to warn that most of the time there aren’t any obvious symptoms of high blood pressure and many cases go undiagnosed.

Nash Heart Center staff will also teach guests the early warning signs and symptoms of heart attack – chest discomfort, shortness of breath, shoulder and/or arm pain, and weakness.

Dr. Stephanie Martin, a cardiologist with UNC Cardiology at Nash, said, “Like many other diseases, heart attacks can show early signs and symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to recognize these warnings and seek treatment before major heart damage occurs. When having a heart attack, 85% of the damage typically occurs within the first two hours so getting help quickly is critical.”

Dr. Martin will be answering visitors’ questions at the Healthy Heart Fair. She adds, “Much of the advice heart doctors can offer is common sense, but it bears repeating since every positive change, no matter how small, works toward preventing a heart attack or reducing the damage it can cause.” She offers a few general tips for maintaining good heart health, below:

  1. Stay at a healthy weight and keep belly fat at a minimum. “Extra weight, especially around the mid-section, increases the risk for heart disease and other diseases, such as diabetes.”
  2. Get plenty of exercise and avoid sitting for too many hours at a time. “All physical activities, even simple exercises and walking, greatly decrease your risk of heart disease. Shoot for 30 minutes a day, but never miss an opportunity. Park your car in a spot that will force you to walk, take the stairs if you’re able, and keep moving.”
  3. Avoid tobacco. “Most folks know smoking is bad for the lungs; it’s also bad for the cardiovascular system.  Secondhand smoke should be avoided, too.”

The American Heart Association reports that cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death in the United States and the world.

For more information about the Healthy Heart Fair or the Nash Heart Center, contact Sarah Heenan at 252 962.8330, email, or visit

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Kenyon "K.J." Askew, Jr., Public Relations and Marketing Specialist, at 252-962-8766 or by email.

If calling after hours, please dial the main hospital line at 252-962-8000 and ask to speak with the nursing supervisor on duty and identify yourself as a member of the news media. He or she will be able to assist you.

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