UnityPoint Health – Trinity has canceled the in-person “What’s Weighing on Your Heart?” event on May 19 at 6 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Rock Island due to low registration. “We’re disappointed the event isn’t taking place as expected but we’re committed to continued partnership with the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and the Davenport and Rock Island Chapters of the NAACP to reach men in the community who are at a greater risk for heart disease,” says Teresa Pangan, PhD, RD, Community Outreach Coordinator at UnityPoint Health – Trinity.

Organizers have contacted those already registered to offer them a free lipid screening and heart health assessment. The event committee encourages Black men and those who care about them to continue focusing on their heart health.

Steps to take toward a healthy heart include:

• Taking the UnityPoint Health – Trinity free heart health assessment.

• Eating fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

• Limiting sugared, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.

• Choosing lean meats and avoiding red meat.

• Getting moving at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week.

• Learning the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke.

• Having a regular wellness exam.

• Getting vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19.

“Now that warm weather has arrived, it’s easier to get outside and move your body,” says Pangan. “Exercise and healthier eating can significantly boost your heart health.”

Event moderator Thurgood Brooks encourages people to take charge of their health by getting a checkup with a trusted medical professional and talking to family members 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 manage your own physical health,” Brooks says.

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.” Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women. “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,” says Kathy Pulley, Director of Cardiology Services at UnityPoint Health – Trinity.