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Chad Foundation to provide cardiac screenings for high school athletes

HOLYOKE — The Chad Foundation for Athletes and Artists will provide 250 cardiac screenings to high school athletes from Holyoke High School and Dean Tech in Holyoke.
The screenings — an echocardiogram (EKG), blood pressure test, cholesterol and diabetes testing and BMI — are used to help to detect lethal abnormalities such as Hypertrophic Cardio-myopathy (HCM) and prevent Sudden Cardiac Death as well as identify potential cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes in school-age students. The screenings, which would normally cost $3,000, will be provided for a nomination donation of $25 per student.
The number one cause of Sudden Cardiac Death in young athletes is HCM, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (abnormal thickening of the heart muscle). The abnormal gene exists in one in every 500 births. According to the Center for Disease Control, 3,000 young people between 15 and 34 years die annually of Sudden Cardiac Death. African-American males are more prone to die from HCM than whites (44 percent to 26 percent). A recent study of 249 teenagers found that 80 percent had an unhealthy buildup of cholesterol on artery walls, often the result of eating high-fat foods. Between 1969 to 1999, the obesity rate among Americans age 18 to 29 more than doubled from 2 to 5 percent. One in three children, who are born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes.
Screenings will take place on Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Holyoke High School (gym), 500 Beach St.
The Chad Foundation for Athletes and Artists will provide the screenings with the donated services of a team of local cardiologists, sonographers, technicians and nurses from Holyoke Medical Center. Also, volunteer sonographers from Pioneer Valley Cardiology of Springfield and Hampden County Cardiology Associates of Holyoke will be participating. Cholesterol and glucose testing will be performed at the Holyoke Medical Center. Students will be informed of the times and dates. There will also be a CPR demonstration provided by nurses from Holyoke Medical Center and Holyoke High School. Phillips Medical Systems, a leading manufacturer of hospital equipment, will provide state-of-the-art, ultrasound echocardiogram and EKG equipment for the event.
For more information, call Melanie Martin at 493-1640 or visit www.chadfoundation.org.
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