ALTON, IL – It can be easy to hibernate in February as those New Year’s resolutions to exercise more begin to wear off. That makes winter a prime time for a decrease in cardiovascular exercise, which is not conducive to heart health.

Alton Memorial’s 12th annual Heart Fair, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, is a good way to get people out of the house and learning how to protect one of the body’s most important muscles.

The Heart Fair is a free event designed to help area residents assess their heart health and learn about prevention and treatment of heart disease, the top health problem in the United States. Call 1-800-392-0936 to register.

Alton Memorial Hospital heart experts will be on hand to address the impact of exercise, smoking, diabetes, sleep disorders, nutrition, medications and stress on the heart. A variety of informational booths will provide details on such topics as heart attack, congestive heart failure, emergency care, angioplasty, peripheral artery disease, cardiac rehabilitation, depression, stress management, smoking cessation, CPR and pacemakers.

In addition to the product fair in the lobby, two presentations will be held in the cafeteria meeting rooms. At 10 a.m., Dr. Nabil Munfakh, a cardiologist, will discuss “Updates in Heart Surgery.” At 11:30 a.m., Kelly Mueller, manager of Alton Memorial

Hospital’s inpatient pharmacy, will discuss the many medications related to heart health.

The Heart Fair will offer a variety of health screenings, including a $10 package that includes cholesterol and blood pressure checks. A body composition measure by Nautilus will also be available free of charge in the lobby. Visitors can register for the screening package when they call to register for the fair itself.

Free boxed meals from Subway in Bethalto and Wood River will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the hospital cafeteria. Lots of free gifts will also be available at the fair.

Cardiovascular disease claims more than a million lives each year in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. The prevalence of the disease is attributed to lifestyle and diet choices and, in some cases, heredity. Uncontrolled cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood clots and narrowing blood vessels set the stage for heart attack, the leading cause of death associated with heart disease. Routine monitoring of blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as regular checkups with a doctor, can help individuals maintain a healthier heart.

A shuttle will be in service from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to transport visitors to and from the hospital’s ED entrance. Anyone using another hospital entrance should first go to the main registration table, which will be located near the ED entrance, to register and get their lunch tickets.

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