UnityPoint Health – Trinity has postponed the in-person “What’s Weighing on Your Heart?” event originally scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Rock Island.

The event is now scheduled for May 19, a news release says.

Organizers have contacted those already registered and “encourage Black men and those who care about them to register now for the in-person event in May,” the release says.

“The rapidly spreading COVID-19 Omicron variant is taking a strong hold in our communities, and the best and safest thing is to postpone this in-person interaction until we’re able to safely gather in person,” says Kathy Pulley, director of Cardiology Services at UnityPoint Health – Trinity.

Ahead of Heart Month, which begins Feb. 1, event moderator Thurgood Brooks says it’s important to take charge of your health by reaching out to your trusted medical professional for a checkup and to talk to your family about any history of heart disease.

“It only takes a few minutes to talk with your family about any risk factors or others who have heart disease. Learning that helps you better manager your own physical health,” Brooks says in the release.

The event’s keynote speaker Bouyella Reddy, MD, a cardiologist with Cardiovascular Medicine, P.C., says, “You can take actions that significantly boost your heart health. Drop 20 pounds, stop smoking, reduce alcohol intake and your risk for heart disease and many others goes down significantly.”

“As the number one killer of Black men, heart disease cuts too many lives short,” says Daniel Joiner, diversity and community impact officer. “While it’s necessary to postpone our educational event, we want to be sure you don’t put off taking steps to improve your heart health.”

Brooks and Joiner encourage everyone to make their health a priority by taking the necessary steps to protect themselves against COVID-19. “Consult with your doctor, ask questions and make an informed decision based on you and your family circumstances,” says Joiner.

UnityPoint Health strongly encourages anyone age 5 and older to get vaccinated – or boosted –
against COVID-19 for the best protection from severe illness and hospitalization, the release says.

“Even a healthy heart has to work hard to overcome COVID-19 illness and complications. But for a heart that’s already struggling from chronic heart disease or other health conditions, it can become severe or even deadly very quickly,” says Toyosi Olutade, MD, chief medical officer, UnityPoint Health – Trinity.

Pulley says heart disease remains the number one killer for all Americans. “As scary as that sounds, nearly 50% of Black men have some sort of heart disease. But perhaps the scariest fact of all is most people who face a serious heart event had no prior symptoms. Left unchecked, this can spell disaster or even death for many,” she said in the release.

Steps toward a healthy heart include:
• Eat fruit, vegetables and whole grains
• Limit sugared, caffeinated and alcohol beverages.
• Choose lean meats. Avoid red meat.
• Get moving at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week.
• Learn the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke.
• Have a regular wellness exam.
• Get vaccinated – and boosted – for COVID-19.