Free heart screening planned

04/08/2010

Day Includes Fitness Event; Geared Toward Teens

GREEN BAY – On a regular basis there are news stories about young athletes collapsing from sudden cardiac death. To help detect risk factors for sudden cardiac death and to promote health and fitness in high school students, Bellin Health, along with a number of organizations, is hosting HeartStrong High School Expo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 17 at the Lambeau Field Atrium.

Several activities are planned at the free event, however, the primary focus is to prevent a tragedy from occurring.

“Sudden cardiac death does occur in some young athletes during or after strenuous exercise,” said Andrea Werner, vice president, Bellin Health Heart and Vascular Center. “HeartStrong will provide free screenings for cardiac conditions that can cause a risk for sudden death in active people.  These screenings could save lives, which is why we are doing this.”

One of those conditions is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic disease that leads to excessive thickening of the heart muscle. The disease is frequently missed during routine physical exams and often has no symptoms.

“This disease is the most common cause of sudden death in active young people and the most common cause of natural death in people under the age of 35,” said Dr. James Rider, Cardiology Associates of Green Bay. “Because the thickening of the heart muscle happens over time, we’ve targeted high school students. Approximately 600,000 people in the United States have this disease and likely don’t know it.”

“It’s estimated that as many as 10,000 young people die each year due to previously undiagnosed heart disorder, including heart muscle abnormalities such as HCM and electrical conduction abnormalities such as Long QT Syndrome (LQTS),” said Mary Jo Gordon, executive director of Cardiac Arrhythmias Research & Education Foundation (C.A.R.E.).  “However, if detected early there are safe and effective treatments for these disorders.”

In addition to free screenings, there will be an entire day of activities focusing on ways to stay fit and the importance of instilling healthy behaviors in high school students.

“We want to teach high school students the importance of health and fitness in a fun and interesting way by engaging them with interactive activities and challenges,” said Werner.

Activities taking place at HeartStrong include:

• Green Bay Packers autographs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
• National Guard Rock Wall (for ages 13 and older)
• Lambeau Leap and Football Toss
• Hooked on Hooping, Zumba and other family fitness demonstrations
• Sports training demonstrations by Bellin's XL Athletic Performance professionals
• CPR Anytime non-certification classes from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• Door prizes, including autographed Packers jersey and Wii Fit package

HeartStrong sponsors include:

• Bellin Health
• Green Bay Packers
• Cardiology Associates of Green Bay
• Cardiac Arrhythmias Research and Education Foundation, Inc.

A parental consent form is required for the heart screening if the student in under the age of 18. Screenings will not be performed on students under 18 without a parental consent form. The form may be downloaded online at www.bellinheart.org/heartstrong or filled out the day of the screening.

This event is free and pre-registration is not required. For more information, visit www.bellinheart.org/heartstrong.