Lake Country forum takes health to heart

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick continued his ongoing series of health issues Saturday with a forum on cardiovascular health at Creekside Theatre in Lake Country.

Doctors Richard Hooper, Michael Humer, Bruce McManus and Rod Cridland spoke to the crowd about heart disease and what citizens can do to prevent it.

Hooper, a local cardiologist who was instrumental in the effort to bring full cardiac care services to Kelowna General Hospital, said too often the focus of health care is on healing rather than prevention.

"Your heart is an amazing organ, it's the engine of your body. We have to keep it healthy," said Hooper.

Hooper said coronary artery disease is the cause of most heart problems in North America, and it often begins at a young age.

According to Hooper, since Interior Health introduced the angioplasty program in 2009, the death rate from heart attacks has reduced by 50 per cent within the community.

But even though the rates of heart disease have been falling, it is still the number one killer of people in our society with 12 million deaths annually, said Hooper.

The cardiologist gave four key tips to prevent heart issues for those in the audience: Eat smart, exercise, stop smoking and know your own numbers—such as cholesterol and blood pressure.

"I think every one of us have lifestyle choices that we can make in terms of protecting our hearts.

"Heart disease is often avoidable by following the simple guidelines."

Hooper thanked Letnick for continuing with his series of health forums, noting its importance and relevance for members of the community.

According to Letnick, who was chair of the Select Standing Committee on Health, Saturday's turnout of nearly 100 people was the biggest he has had to date.


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