By Stephen K. Peeples 
February is National Health Month throughout the United States, and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital  kicks off a month-long series of heart-related events in our community on Saturday by participating in the “Celebrate Life Festival” hosted by the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Henry Mayo's February activities focus on cardiovascular health, education, screenings and other services available at the hospital in Valencia and throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
At Saturday’s festival, rolling out at 25300 Rye Canyon Road in Valencia from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., local residents will have a chance to meet the Henry Mayo cardiovascular team, and find out how to improve their heart health.
“The purpose of the fair is to raise awareness about heart health,” said Rosella Dolan, the nurse-navigator for Henry Mayo’s cardiovascular program. “Since heart disease is one of the leading killers in the nation, it’s important to bring some education to the community.
At the festival, Henry Mayo staffers will provide free glucose, BP and cholesterol screenings, and educational presentations about understanding heart and brain attacks (or strokes), and how eating healthy makes for a healthier heart.
In addition to the assessments, Dolan said, “We’ll have nurses and radiation technologists from our cardiac catheterization lab presenting cases and (detailing) what they do in the cath lab.
“We’ll also have our cardiac rehab nurse,” she said. “We've just been licensed in cardiac rehab, so she'll be there as part of our team, which represents the entire spectrum of care here, from diagnosis in the cath lab and treatments, potentially, in the cath lab, to open heart surgery, to cardiac rehab, to ensure the health and well-being of our patients post-procedure and post-operatively.”
Dolan said her counterpart in the hospital’s stroke program and other staff will be part of her team as well. “We're going to be doing a body composition analysis, and we'll check for clotted arteries to assess what your risk is," Dolan said. "And then at a nursing assessment table, we'll discuss that with the person to see how we can maybe prevent something catastrophic from happening."
The Henry Mayo team will also provide free information and educational materials relating to the heart and how it functions. There will be a treatment display and demonstration, info from the hospital’s Sheila E. Veloz Breast Imaging Center about breast health and the importance of mammograms, and tips on how to quit smoking.
And there will be an “Ask the Nutritionist” session where attendees can get detailed information about what and what not to eat to maintain a healthy heart.
Dolan said she hopes people who take advantage of Henry Mayo’s screenings and information will leave the Celebrate Your Life Festival knowing a lot more about heart health, “and about things they can do in their own lives, very easy adjustments and changes that they can do to promote their own heart health.
“Also, we hope to raise awareness about what heart disease looks like, so we can help our own loved ones and neighbors if they have an incident like a stroke or a heart attack,” she said.
Ultimately, though, the best medicine is prevention.
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“’Get to know us before you need us,’ as my director likes to say,” Dolan said. “Get to know us and what we do, and hopefully you'll never have to need us in a hospital setting. If we can do anything to prevent you from coming, that's the whole idea."
Other events the hospital will participate in during February include the “Care for Your Heart” Health Fair at the Santa Clarita Community Center in Newhall on Friday, Feb. 15, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Henry Mayo’s Cardiovascular Services department holds an open house at the hospital on Thursday, Feb. 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. An RSVP is required; call 661-200-1306.
For more information, visit www.henrymayo.com  or call the aforementioned number.
•Source: Santa Clarita News 
•Author: Stephen K. Peeples