The Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute, located at 3100 E Fletcher Ave, invites you to take part in its annual community health screenings.
The Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute, located at 3100 E Fletcher Ave, invites you to take part in its annual community health screenings.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. Your lifestyle, diet and genetics all play a part in your heart health risks and benefits. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that heart attack prevention begin by age 20 and continue throughout your life. It’s vital to assess your risk factors and take action to protect your heart.

A Tampa couple understands the meaning behind taking action for your health. Richard and Jill Beistle keep several dates on the calendar that are important to them, including birthdays, anniversaries and…for more than 10 years …health screenings. The couple says this gives them peace of mind about their health and their hearts!

“It’s important because you need to know what your numbers are, rather than wait until something happens to you and you end up in the hospital,” says Jill.

There are five key numbers medical experts say you should know. The average adult’s blood pressure should be no higher than 120/80, their triglycerides should be 150 or less and when it comes to total cholesterol, the goal is below 200. Triglycerides and total cholesterol numbers measure both good and bad cholesterol. Good cholesterol, also called HDL (or high-density lipoproteins), should fall in the range of 40-60. Bad cholesterol, called LDL (or low-density lipoproteins) should be 100 or less. The Beistles say they participate in Florida Hospital Tampa (located at Florida Hopsital Tampa, on E. Fletcher Ave. at Bruce B. Downs Blvd.)’s community health screenings yearly. The next screenings are being held the next two weeks at both the hospital itself and at the offices of the Florida Hospital Physician Group in Brandon (see below).

“Every once in a while it’s nice to check to make sure you are still on the right track,” said Richard.

Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute medical director Dr. Charles R. Lambert, M.D., is involved with the health screenings and says medical experts can pick up some significant warning signs in a matter of minutes.

“If I know your cholesterol, your body mass index and your family history…you can, with amazing accuracy, predict the risk factors and the actual risk of having cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Lambert.

While some risk factors are hereditary and determined by your family history, you do have the power to change some of your other risk factors through lifestyle and dietary changes. Remember, you are your first line of defense against heart disease.

A simple drop of blood can help assess your risk for heart disease, as a volunteer demonstrates.
A simple drop of blood can help assess your risk for heart disease, as a volunteer demonstrates.

Dr. Lambert says the screenings are not a substitute for your checkup or annual physical with your doctor, but they are a great way to measure how you are doing and can shed light on your risk factors.

“Extensive studies have identified several factors that increase the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack,” Dr. Lambert says. “Some risk factors include: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and lack of exercise. The good news is that many of these can be lowered with making lifestyle and diet changes. Another significant risk factor includes smoking… a smoker’s risk of developing heart disease is 2-4 times that of non-smoker’s.”

Diabetes also can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Children of parents with heart disease are more likely to develop it themselves. Just as you can’t control your age, sex and race, you can’t control your family history. Therefore, it’s even more important to manage the other risk factors you can change. People often do not recognize the signs of a heart attack and wait too long before getting help.

Signs that a heart attack is happening include an uncomfortable pressure or squeezing in the chest, pain in the neck, jaw, arms or stomach, shortness of breath and other signs could often be breaking out in a cold sweat or lightheadedness. First-ever heart attacks can be fatal or disabling, so prevention is critical.

Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute will be hosting four community health screenings the next two weeks to help you keep your heart beating strong! to attend any of the following days and times for these important community health screenings:

Friday, September 20 & Thursday, September 26 — at Florida Hospital Tampa (3100 E. Fletcher Ave. at BBD) Pepin Heart Institute Wallace Conference Center, 8 a.m. – noon.
Thursday, September 19 & Friday, September 27 — at Florida Hospital Physician Group, the office of Mark Craft, MD, and Edward Scanlan, MD (426 W. Brandon Blvd., Brandon, FL 33511), 8 a.m. – noon.

The $25 screenings will include blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI) and a Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) screening.

PAD is more commonly known as hardening of the arteries, which increases your risk for having a heart attack or stroke. PAD screening is done by using the ankle-branchial index (ABI). This ABI screening is a painless, quick and noninvasive Doppler ultrasound that measures the ratio between the pressure in your arms and that in your legs, identifying most cases of PAD. Once the screening is complete, participants will review results with a healthcare professional. Keep your heart protected with the experts at Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute. Sign up for your screening today, it might just save your life.

Registration for the screenings is required online at Or, call 615-7537 for registration & more information. This announcement was written and submitted to the New Tampa Neighborhood News by the staff at Florida Hospital Tampa.


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