Cardiac Arrest: Check your risk for heart disease - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Cardiac Arrest: Check your risk for heart disease

November 1, 2007

Albany-- Ann Roberts works out like clockwork. "I'm coming three days a week now," she said. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday the 62-year old and her 78-year old workout partner Rether Bryant head to the Jackson Heights Fitness and Wellness Center in east Albany.  "My car heads this way," Roberts said with a laugh. Bryant said, "The more you come, the more you want to come. It makes you feel so good."

We met these two when we set up a health screening at the Albany Mall and gave folks a chance to take an online quiz to assess their risk of having a heart attack or dying of heart disease. Some people were happy with the results. After she found out she's at low risk of having a heart attack, Ruth Settles said, "Yeah, I'm pretty healthy."

Beverly King found out she's also at low risk, but her husband Richard, who gets little exercise, is near the high risk category. "I wish I could get him to walk with me. That would be great cause I do like to walk, and I think he would," Beverly said.

Jermaine Power is only 23 and was shocked to learn his blood pressure is high. "Very surprising. I got to check on that," he said.

Wesley Webb is at moderate to high risk for a heart attack, mainly because he smokes. He said, "It's hard. It's the hardest thing to put down. I'm not a chain smoker, but it's hard to quit."

The test showed Kenneth Richardson's diabetes and high blood pressure put him at high risk, and he knows he needs to exercise to get healthier. "That's where I'm failing now," he said.

Cardiologist Dr. Jeffrey Hoopes says that test gives you a pretty good guideline and shows you what risk factors you can control. "Stopping smoking, keeping your weight controlled, and exercise not only will help people avoid heart disease, but I think they will feel better, and they will live a longer life." Dr. Hoopes says if you start eating better and start exercising, you can quickly make a dramatic difference in your health. "People need to realize that they have control over their health, and they really need to take some responsibility for it," Hoopes said.

Ann and Rether have been taking that responsibility for years. "Every since I was 25, I been trying to keep that weight down, and it makes you feel better," Bryant said. In addition to regular exercise, they make sure they eat right. Roberts said, "I try maybe to get five servings of fruits and vegetables in per day."

And it's paying off. The cardiac arrest test shows they're in good shape. "I want to live to be a ripe old age man," Bryant said. Roberts added, "I didn't get to 62 to leave here now. I want to be on Willard Scott's Smuckers Jelly jar. 100 or more." Watch out Willard. She's working out and working on reaching that goal.

You can take the American Heart Association's heart attack risk assessment online at  www.americanheart.org/riskassessment.  You can learn more about the Heart Association's new Start program to encourage more Americans to start walking at www.americanheart.org/start.

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