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Get heart healthy and wise this February

February is Heart Month. People of all ages should be screened for various heart conditions, including sudden cardiac arrhythmias. Defibrillators should be in all locations where youth sports are played.
February is Heart Month. People of all ages should be screened for various heart conditions, including sudden cardiac arrhythmias. Defibrillators should be in all locations where youth sports are played. (Laurel Leader File)

February is Heart Month.

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Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. each year. CVS pharmacies are offering free heart health screenings each Thursday in February. The screenings will provide results for cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass. These tests results can help determine your risk for heart disease in the future.

Heart attacks are what we often think of when we think of heart disease, but other forms of the condition are equally dangerous including sudden cardiac arrhythmias, which are genetic heart conditions that can cause sudden deaths in apparently healthy people. This occurs because the electrical system of the heart is not working properly and the heart beats in an abnormal rhythm.

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Each year, approximately 200,000 Americans die suddenly and unexpectedly due to sudden cardiac arrest. Young athletes are often victims of this condition. The Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome (SADS) Foundation at sads.org has more information about the condition and diagnosis and treatment options.

Our family has direct experience with this, having lost our son when he was just 19. As the condition does not show up in the usual diagnostics like an EKG, the SADS Foundation urges that young athletes be evaluated for arrhythmia before engaging in sports, as treatments are available. The state of Maryland, among others, now requires that defibrillators, which provide emergency treatment, be in all locations where youth sports are played.

The month of February, associated with the hearts and flowers of Valentine’s Day, is a good time to get CVS-type assessments, and to become familiar with other diagnosis and prevention methods.

The Montpelier Arts Center is offering a new jewelry making class this winter. You can learn how to create fine silver adornments with precious metal clay. All materials needed are available in the class.

There are two formats being offered.

A three-session class takes place Feb. 9, 10 and 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. These sessions focus on making your own rings. The fee is $130 for residents and $169 for non-residents.

You can also opt for a one session class on Saturday, March 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a fee of $65 for residents and $85 for non-residents. Call 301-377-7800 for more information.

Cpl. Geoffrey Brown of the Prince George’s County Police Department District VI announced that the popular Coffee with Seniors meetings will resume on Feb. 7 at the Laurel/Beltsville Senior Activity Center at 1 p.m. These sessions provide a great opportunity to chat with community police officers about safety issues including measures to keep our homes safe.

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