Local MinuteClinics offering free heart health screenings

SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) -- February is Heart Month, and the American Heart Association is pushing to unite Americans around a common goal: ending stroke and heart disease, our nation's number one killer.

Local CVS MinuteClinic locations are hoping to help with that by offering free heart-health screenings every Thursday this month. They want to stress the importance of knowing your numbers when it comes to blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, and blood sugar.

"We can actually just poke your finger, run your blood sugar and your cholesterol, take your blood pressure and then do height and weight and figure out your BMI," Shendry Thom, a Family Nurse Practitioner, said, "With those numbers you have a really good idea of what your risk factors are."

Thom said it's best to fast 8 to 12 hours before getting a heart health screening done to get the most accurate results. If your numbers come back high, there are multiple ways to bring them back down.

"Healthy lifestyle, exercise, avoid salt, and make sure you see a health care provider so that you continue to follow up on these things," Thom said, "That is part of why we're living so long now is that we're actually intervening and doing something about it early."

In November, new guidelines were issued for cholesterol monitoring and treatment to begin at an earlier age. Last year, the medical community issued updated blood pressure guidelines as well.

If you'd like to get a free heart health screening, appointments can be made online by clicking here.

Walk-ins are also welcome. MinuteClinic locations providing the screenings are 680 N. McCarran Blvd. in Sparks, 55 Damonte Ranch Pkwy. in Reno, and 1695 Robb Dr. in Reno.