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June Marie Thompson Blood Drive: Guest Speaker on Cardiovascular Health.

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Stephanie was invited to be the guest speaker at the annual June Marie Thompson Health Fair & Blood Drive in Burlington, NC, sponsored by the Burlington Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

She spoke on cardiovascular health, current statistics, causes, and prevention!

Cardiovascular disease is the number one leading cause of death globally. The second biggest cause are cancers. CVD is a general term for conditions that affect your heart and blood vessels, usually caused by a buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries. One of the main causes is poor nutrition. The majority of us most likely grew up eating fried and fatty foods, soul food collard greens with the ham hocks in it, and have continued to cook the way we've been taught.

Well although a lot of those southern comfort or "low vibration" plates as they call it these days, taste and looks so good, it unfortunately is a main contributor to our high cholesterol and LDL levels, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and so much more.

Current Statistics on CVD:

  • 25.5% of all US adults have high LDL “bad cholesterol” ,

  • 122.4 million or 47% US adults are estimated to have HTN

  • Every 40 seconds a loved one has a heart attack or stroke & Someone in US dies of a stroke every 3 minutes and 17 seconds (439 deaths each day)

  • 9.7 million adults have undiagnosed diabetes

  • 29.3 million adults have diagnosed DM

  • 115.9 million have pre-diabetes


When you think about how high these numbers are it's easy to see how CVD is the number one leading cause of death. When I worked in the emergency room there were people in their 30’s and 40’s having heart attacks and strokes. Years ago that would be so rare, but now-a-days much more common because collectively we’re an unhealthy population.

So what do we do about it? How do we get on top of this and start living longer?

The American Heart Association has developed Life’s Essential 8, which are key measures that help improve and maintain cardiovascular health:

  1. Eat better,

  2. Be more active

  3. Quit smoking

  4. Get healthy sleep

  5. Manage weight

  6. Control cholesterol

  7. Manage blood sugar

  8. Manage blood pressure

Eat better: whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds cooking with olive or canola oil

Be more active: 2 ½ hours of moderate or 75 min of vigorous physical activity per week

Quit tobacco: smoking accounts for 1/3 of deaths from heart disease. Within 1 year after quitting, your risk of heart disease goes down by half.

Get healthy sleep: Adults needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Promotes healing, improves brain function, and reduces the risk of chronic disease

Manage weight: Basically in order to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you eat. Portion control, getting your BMI around 25.

Control cholesterol: total less than 200. LDL less than 150. (Natural tip, chia seeds, COQ-10, fish oil vitamin for your triglycerides)

Manage blood sugar: Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Carbs, pasta, bread all converts to sugar. Over time high levels of blood sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves. Monitor A1C.

Manage blood pressure: Keep levels down, less than 120/80. High levels are defined as 130-139/ 80-89. Diagnosing HBP earlier can help prevent more heart attacks and strokes.

Now my question to all of you is, when is the last time you had a check-up or labs performed? I get it, out of sight out of mind. Or the feeling of doctors and providers “looking” for something to be wrong with you. However, knowing your lab

values and exactly where you stand is what can help prevent cardiovascular disease or other budding conditions. You can’t know all that is going on with your health without at least having a regular checkup. If we catch things early, there is time to implement lifestyle changes to prevent worsening health and conditions.

June Marie Thompson Blood Drive

The ladies of DST honored June Marie's mother with a lovely photo blanket of June, her birth and death year, with the words "Forever in our hearts."

June Marie was a bone marrow donor, blood transfusion recipient, and a member of Jack & Jill of America and Delta Sigma Theta. She was an outstanding member of the Alamance-Burlington community. The health fair and blood drive is held each year in honor of June's memory and her commitment to community service.

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