February is Heart Month, which means it’s a great opportunity to find an answer to the question, “How is my heart health?” If you aren’t certain, maybe it’s time to consider a Wake-Up Call screening. “Many people are unaware that they are at a serious risk for heart attack and stroke until it is too late,” says Elise Farrell, Women/Community Wellness Nurse Educator at the Little Company of Mary Health Education Center. “This screening gives you a ‘wake up call’ that you may be in danger and need to make some changes to decrease your chances of having a stroke or a heart attack.” The Wake-Up Call Screening is a comprehensive stroke screening offered monthly at Little Company of Mary Hospital. The screening takes only an hour and a half, and that short amount of time could save your life.
The Wake-Up Call Screening includes:
• Blood oxygen level test
• Comprehensive blood cholesterol and chemistry level tests
• Body composition analysis
• Stroke screening/carotid artery ultrasound
• Abdominal aortic aneurysm ultrasound
• Peripheral vascular disease screening
• Heart Rhythm Screening for Atrial Fibrillation
These tests will provide you with a comprehensive look at:
• Your cholesterol
• Your weight, height, and body mass index
• Lung, heart, liver, kidney, thyroid and blood health
• Your risk for diabetes, an abdominal aneurysm, or vascular disease
• Whether you have plaque or a blockage in your arteries
• If your heartbeat and blood flow are normal
• Your risk for heart attack or stroke
We sat down with Elise Farrell to find out answers to the most common questions about the Wake-Up Call Screening:
Who should get the Wake-Up Call screening?
It is available to anyone but encouraged for those with any risk for heart attack or stroke factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or family history.
What are you looking for when you perform the Wake-Up Call?
Each test involved in the screening helps to identify your personal risk factors for heart attack, stroke and congestive heart failure.
Who does the tests?
Trained ultrasound technicians do the ultrasounds, a certified phlebotomist does the lab draw and registered nurses do the heart rhythm screening, heel ultrasound and exit counseling. Afterward, we send some of the results out. A physician reads every heart rhythm strip and a radiologist reads every ultrasound.
Is it affordable? How much is it?
The entire process costs only $150 (a $4000 value). This includes all tests, plus exit counseling with a registered nurse to understand the results and come up with an action plan to reduce risk factors. (Results also are sent to you so you can follow through with your physician if needed).
How soon do you get results?
Any results of concern are shared as soon as they are available (usually within 48 hours or sooner) along with a referral for immediate follow up with a physician. All results are mailed with a full explanation of each test and are in the home within two to three weeks.
What actions are typically recommended after getting the results?
Any abnormal results are discussed with you to help identify lifestyle changes that decrease personal risk factors. Recommendations are given to follow through with your physician if needed. The Health Education Center has a variety of programs and services to support you as you work on improving your health and well-being.
“Wake-Up Call Screenings definitely save lives and prevent more serious issues down the line,” said Elise. This comprehensive screening for stroke and heart attack is offered every month in the Cancer Center area of Little Company of Mary Hospital. Make an appointment for your Wake-Up Call Screening today by calling Little Company of Mary’s Health Education Center at 708.423.5774!