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CHI Health St. Francis puts focus on heart disease and strokes with awareness walk

 Heart disease and stroke are a leading cause of death in the United States and nurses at CHI Health St. Francis are trying to raise more awareness of staying active. (KSNB)
Heart disease and stroke are a leading cause of death in the United States and nurses at CHI Health St. Francis are trying to raise more awareness of staying active. (KSNB) (KSNB)
Published: Jun. 27, 2020 at 5:12 PM CDT
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According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. On average, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds. Statistics like that are why CHI Health St. Francis wanted to start bringing more attention to the issue with an awareness walk.

Just a short walk around the parking lot or neighborhood can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Getting more exercise is a big focus for stroke and heart disease patients.

“The biggest thing with strokes is that 80% of strokes are preventable,” Stroke Coordinator and Registered Nurse Melissa Taylor said. “So just by increasing our activity and being more aware of some of those things like cholesterol levels, diabetes, things like that will help reduce your risk.”

After someone has a heart attack they have to go to rehab and train their bodies to be active again. To get ahead of the issue, nurses suggest diet and exercise can go a long way.

“Just starting a gradual exercise program is important and that's what we try to focus on in addition to all those other things that we try to work on risk factor wise,” Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab Registered Nurse Joan Jakubowski said.

Due to COVID-19, Saturday's walk had to be virtual. small groups and families shared their photos on Facebook and shared stories of who they are walking for. One person said they walked for their dad who died of a heart attack, others walk because they face the risk themselves.

“My grandmother had a stroke a few years ago and actually passed away from it so I've seen it first hand as well. I do have heart disease in my family,” Taylor said.

Nurses encourage people to learn about the more subtle signs of strokes and heart disease so they can get help before it becomes much worse. They also remind people that if they are experiencing symptoms of heart problems or a stroke to come in. It is a clean environment and they do not need to be concerned about COVID-19 at the hospital.

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