Women’s Heart Alliance is partnering with Ohio State this week and next to raise awareness as the College of Nursing holds free screenings to promote women’s heart health.
“Surprisingly, risks are going up among women for heart disease and stroke. Most women are not aware that this is such a risk,” said Melissa Weber, interim director of communications at OSU’s College of Nursing.
The 15-minute biometric heart screenings, or “heart checks,” consist of a short physical check-up to screen for cardiovascular-disease risk factors, Weber said. Afterwards, participants are also asked to fill out a short survey. The screenings will be held on Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the RPAC, and on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Ohio Union.
“During a typical heart check, we will take the patient’s blood pressure, listen to their heart, feel for their pulses in each arm, behind their knees and on top of their feet,” said Lauren Brunner, a fourth-year in nursing. “We’ll also check capillary refill to make sure they have good blood return, and ask about any shortness of breath with activity or dull aching pains in their chest or stomach.”
WHA chose OSU for its campaign because of the university’s large size and because it would be easy to appeal to college-aged women, who Weber said generally consider their health to be important.
The idea behind the screenings is to raise awareness among women that that heart disease and stroke kill more than all types of cancers combined and that preventative screening can go a long way in averting serious health issues in the future.
“The goal is to make OSU the healthiest campus in the world,” Weber said.
Participants will receive a free t-shirt, reusable water bottle and heat compress after their screening.
OSU nursing students will conduct the heart health checks.
“Nursing students learn so much about heart disease, so getting the opportunity to promote wellness is so rewarding,” Brunner said. “Besides making sure these women are healthy, the most important part of these clinics is to educate on the symptoms of heart disease and stroke, and give them ideas on how to keep themselves and their families healthy.”
During the OSU-Northwestern football game on Saturday, OSU’s marching band is set to make a heart formation on the field before the game to raise awareness for women’s heart health.
Additionally, University President Drake and the dean of the College of Nursing, Bernadette Melnyk, will join the field to be recognized alongside 30 selected “innovators,” faculty, staff and students in the wellness world.
Brunner said she hoped the screenings would offer a free, convenient way for women to get check-ups they might otherwise put off or ignore.
“Getting to the gym and eating healthy can be hard and costs a lot of money,” Brunner said. “Women especially are busy running their homes, working, taking care of their kids, and don’t always take time for their own wellness check-ups or to get weird symptoms checked out.”
Correction, Oct. 31: This headline of this story has been changed to reflect which institution is providing the heart checks. While Women’s Health Alliance is a partner in the program, the Ohio State College of Nursing is running the heart checks.