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News: Seven-minute test could save your life

Centegra Health System has partnered for nine months with HeartAware as its cardiac outreach program, in a continuing effort to save lives in the McHenry County community. HeartAware is an interactive online personal health risk questionnaire that takes less than seven minutes to complete. After the assessment, each participant is given an immediate personalized report that indicates their overall risk of developing cardiovascular disease, as well as ways to reduce it.

If the individual meets certain clinical criteria, he or she is given the opportunity to meet with a Centegra Health System professional for a free, no-cost, no-obligation consultation. This follow-up includes a 30-minute consultation where blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, family history and body mass index are checked. If a person is found to be at risk, the healthcare professional will offer recommendations on improving his or her health and contact their primary care physician, if desired.

Heart disease continues to be the number one killer of American men and women. Last year 750,000 American died from heart disease and almost half had no symptoms prior to their first event, which was death. Centegra Health System’s goal is to help prevent this from happening.

“I’m really excited about this,” James Gramm, MD, said. “We want to keep people from dying and out of the operating room. Centegra Health System is proud to be a part of the HeartAware program, which is exclusive to our market. Our goal is to focus on the early detection and prevention of heart disease by getting everyone in the community to take the online test. Centegra Health System can help people stop smoking, lower their cholesterol and blood pressure and lose weight. It is never too late to get healthy and reduce your risk for heart disease.”

For prevention, the free, on-line heart health test is available at HeartAware was launched at Centegra in February, 2008. In its first nine months, over 700 people took the test and more than half were identified as at risk for heart disease. Of the test participants, 73 percent were women and 23 percent were men. Each HeartAware participant found at risk is invited to a free consultation with a cardiac nurse, an important benefit when a risk of heart disease has been identified.

“It’s important to remember that HeartAware is a free, pre-diagnostic tool that can be taken in the privacy of one’s own home at any time of the day or night,” Gramm said. “A person may be unaware that certain health habits or family history may be having a dramatic effect on their heart health. HeartAware provides the essential first step in effectively managing one’s health.”

Gramm is a thoracic cardiovascular surgeon with Cardiac Surgery Associates, the leading cardiac surgery group in Illinois. Centegra partnered with CSA two years ago to be the cardiovascular surgical team performing all of Centegra’s cardiovascular procedures.

“The physicians of CSA have provided our patients with the highest-quality cardiac care in the state and they continue to focus on new ways to bring the most state-of-the-art cardiac care right here to McHenry County,” said, Suzan Buchaklian, Executive Director, Centegra Cardiovascular Services. “The success of this program demonstrates the commitment of the entire Centegra family as we continue to make a difference in the communities we serve. With this important service, patients and their families are receiving the care they need closer to home.”

“The people of McHenry County should feel secure knowing that Centegra has developed a university-medical-center-quality cardiac program right here in McHenry County and will continue to be dedicated to providing the highest-quality, vital healthcare services to the residents in our community,” Michael S. Eesley, Centegra President and CEO said.

Anyone interested in taking the assessment should go to Centegra is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of the residents of greater McHenry County and to making services available in multiple and convenient locations, including hospitals in McHenry and Woodstock, Immediate and Primary Care centers, Centegra Sage Cancer Center, Health Bridge Fitness Centers and more. As the region’s leading healthcare provider, Centegra Health System continues to bring the latest treatments and technology, along with the skills of nearly 4,000 medical professionals, to meet the needs of the growing McHenry County community.