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FREE Women's Heart Affair Feb. 24

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Antelope Valley Medical Center (AVMC) is celebrating American Heart Month by hosting its fourth annual Women’s Heart Health Affair on Saturday, Feb. 24, from 9 a.m. to noon at the AVMC Community Resource Center (44151 15th Street West in Lancaster). This free event will feature free stand-up yoga, health screenings, beauty services, chair massages, health presentations, Hands-Only CPR training, prizes and refreshments.

Attendees are encouraged to dress comfortably since the event includes stand-up yoga and to wear red in honor of American Heart Month. The first 50 attendees receive a free yoga mat in recognition of this year’s theme, #GoRedGetFit. Free health screenings will include cholesterol and blood pressure. Fasting is not required for these screenings. All are welcome; registration is not required.

"As the region’s leader in heart care, AV Hospital aims to help women improve their health and reduce their risk of developing heart disease," said Sameh Gadallah, M.D., cardiologist and medical director for AVMC’s Institute for Heart & Vascular Care. "Since women are often busy taking care of others, we are offering them a morning of relaxing, pampering and focusing on themselves."

Heart disease and stroke are serious health issues for women. More women die each year of heart disease than all cancers combined, and each year stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer. Through this event, AVMC hopes to inform women about their personal risk for heart disease and stroke. Risk factors include smoking; high blood pressure; high blood cholesterol; being overweight or obese; lack of physical activity; unhealthy diet; diabetes and pre-diabetes; and other conditions such as sleep apnea, stress and alcohol abuse.

Heart Health Affair presentations include:

  • Nicole Wojtal, M.D., emergency department physician, offering insight into heart disease prevention and signs of a heart attack for women.
  • Roger Girion, Ph.D., AV Hospital’s executive director of mental health services, to discuss how to reduce stress, which can be a factor in heart disease for women.
  • Alyse Dunlap, an Antelope Valley resident, sharing a firsthand account of her own heart attack at just 52 years old.

"It is just unbelievable to me, my family and my friends that I would be the one to have a heart attack," said Dunlap. "I’m happy to have the opportunity to tell my story and help other women become more aware of their risk for heart disease."

Participants also are invited to bring their medications and vitamins for a free medication review by a pharmacist who will help identify any potential medication interactions as well as answer questions about each medication.

Hands-only CPR demonstrations will be provided by AMR Medical Transportation. Hands-Only CPR, also known as "Sidewalk CPR," is different from conventional mouth-to-mouth CPR. Sidewalk CPR is designed to give people basic skills, which if provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival until emergency responders arrive.

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