(Alton, IL) -- In recognition of American Heart Month, discounted cholesterol and glucose health screenings are being offered for $5 at Saint Anthony’s Health Center and Saint Clare’s Hospital. 

Screening dates: Tuesday, February 25 in the lobby of Saint Anthony’s Health Center at #1 Saint Anthony’s Way, and Thursday, February 27 in the lobby of Saint Clare’s Hospital, 915 East Fifth Street. Screening times each day: 12:30 to 2 p.m.

Free blood pressures screenings will also be available.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance. The body needs some cholesterol, but it can build up on the walls of arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke when there is too much in your blood, says Laura Fowler, a registered nurse with Saint Anthony’s Cardiology Services. 

“People with high cholesterol have about twice the risk of heart disease as people with lower levels,” adds Fowler. “High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

“If you have other risk factors -- such as high blood pressure or diabetes -- as well as high cholesterol, this risk increases even more.”

And the more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance of developing coronary heart disease.

According to the CDC, the level defined as high total cholesterol is 240 mg/dL and above. For adult Americans, the average level is about 200 mg/dL, which is borderline high risk. And more women than men have high cholesterol in the United States.

According to the American Heart Association, individuals can keep their cholesterol levels under control by:

  • schedule a screening
  • eat foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • exercise regularly
  • follow your healthcare professional's advice

The fingerstick screening at Saint Anthony’s includes glucose, total and HDL cholesterol levels as well as the total/HDL ratio.

For more information on the cholesterol screening or information about early heart attack care, please call 618-465-2264.

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