Observer-Reporter: Be Local: Area organizations celebrating American Heart Month

Editor’s note: This is a weekly series focusing on the importance of buying local.

COVID-19 is still preventing local hospitals and health systems from doing hands-on activities to celebrate American Heart Month each February.

Information continues to be passed, however, and programs aimed at highlighting the heart health are still alive.

A spokeswoman for the Wilford R. Cameron Wellness Center said the center is offering free blood pressure screenings to the entire community from 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Fridays throughout the month. The center provides screening for all members at any time.

The center is also selling American Heart Association red, silver and gold T-shirts and all money raised in that effort will be given to the American Heart Association.

Other efforts include employees paying $5 to wear blue jeans and the red AHA T-shirts and as an additional option, the center is offering a new membership program that will donate 50% of memberships to the AHA.

Washington Health System unveiled its new Cardiovascular Care billboard on Interstate 79 featuring Visen, Circle Graphics’ and Lamar Graphics’ next-generation day-to-night backlit billboard system.

“This new technology allows us to display a dramatic image at night that is completely different from the image seen during the day,” WHS said in a release. “If you haven’t seen our cool new billboard yet both during the day and night.”

Erin Carlin, manager of public relations for St. Clair Health System, said while there are no in-person programs because of COVID-19 protocols, the hospital is “sharing a lot of information and raising awareness through social media, their patients and internally with the health system staff.”

“We have live posts on our website, information to encourage heart health,” Carlin said. “We have a strong cardiology department.”

American Heart Month reminds people to take care of their hearts and consider risk factors.

Heart disease can happen at any age, however, some risk factors for heart disease and stroke are preventable. American Heart Month attempts to educate the public to help reduce risks.

According to, the following are signs for heart disease risk:

High blood pressure:

  • Millions of people in the United States have high blood pressure, and millions of them are as young as 40 or 50. If you are one of them, talk to your doctor about ways to control it;

High cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity:

  • are all conditions that can increase your risk for heart disease. If you fall into this category, work on eating healthy and getting some physical activity a few times a week;

Smoking cigarettes:

  • More than 35 million adults in America are smokers, and thousands of young people pick up the habit daily. If you’re a smoker, do your best to quit or cut down. It’s what’s best for your health.