Screenings detect heart disease risk |

Screenings detect heart disease risk

Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

Recent years have revealed a shift in the age of people joining the fitness trend, according to Mike Carville, president of the South Yuba Club. More people are becoming members in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, he said, and they are more interested in staying healthy than developing muscles.

“It’s less about vanity now than just staying healthy. They want to feel better and be able to enjoy favorite activities as they age,” Carville said.

These are trends that caught the interest of the Wellness Program at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, which has partnered up with the South Yuba Club to offer discounted heart wellness screenings to members.

The screening is done with a CT scanner that reveals calcium deposits that represent risks for heart disease. It also includes laboratory tests and a consultation with a nurse specializing in cardiac rehab. Screenings, which are not covered by insurance, normally cost $189, but are being done for South Yuba Club members for only $159.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to join with other organizations in the community to create better health,” explained Tim Stephens, vice president for professional services at the hospital. “In this instance, our screening program can reveal the presence of risk factors, or pre-cursers to heart disease, and the fitness experts at the South Yuba Club can work with their members to help them make lifestyle changes.”

“This is unique,” Carville stated. “It’s an attempt by the hospital and the South Yuba Club to reach out and seek people who are active and interested in their health. We’re giving them the opportunity to merge medicine and fitness to make improvements in their health.”

The heart wellness screenings have been available at the hospital for several years, Stephens noted. In that time between 600 and 700 people have been screened.

Among them, several have been found with major risk factors, he said. Still more have discovered the presence of early stage calcium growth.

Statistics show that one in three people develop cardiovascular disease in their lifetimes, Stephens said. Typically, you could be at risk if you are middle aged or beyond, with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or a family history of heart disease. People with diabetes, or who smoke, or don’t exercise at least two or three times a week may also be good candidates for the screening, he added.

Although February is Heart Health Awareness Month, the discounted program for South Yuba Club members will be ongoing, Carville said. The program is available to members at both the Grass Valley and Nevada City clubs, he added.

Several members have already taken advantage of the savings, Carville said.

“This test is amazing,” he said. “It’s like a mirror look inside your body, and the results can give you a strong push to get more pro-active about preventing problems from developing.”

All physicians providing care for patients at SNMH are members of the medical staff and are independent practitioners, not employees of the hospital.

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