Healthy Heart Project screening proves to be life-saving

A Detroiter shows us that just because you feel okay doesn't mean there's nothing wrong.

FOX 2 was there when Clarence Burns found that out at our Healthy Heart Project last Saturday.

FOX 2: "You're feeling pretty good right?"

"Yes, yes," Burns said.

Burns, 64,  has just found out he's got to go the emergency room at Providence Hospital. An EKG revealed an irregular heartbeat or atrial fibrillation. 

"What happens is the upper chamber isn't contracting, it's fibrillating so the blood becomes static, it doesn't move very well," said Dr. Shukri David, a cardiologist from Providence Hospital.  "Little clots develop and strokes can migrate to the brain or other parts of the body. 

AFib as it's called, is one of the big problems that doctors are looking for at our Healthy Heart Project.  It is an annual screening at  two St. John Providence hospitals. This past Saturday hundreds showed up to learn about their blood pressure, BMI and blood sugar levels.

Often the screening finds problems that people have no idea they have and in some cases there are no symptoms.  

Like Burns with his irregular heart beat.

"I get on the treadmill, I do all of that," he said. 

It is one of the most common reasons elderly people have strokes. The cause of AFib is often chronic high blood pressure -  the good news is, this is treatable. 

FOX 2: "What you going to do for him in the ER?"

"We're going to give him medication to control his heart rate and then we're going to start him on some blood thinners to reduce the risk of having a stroke," David said.

Burns is home now, and on medication. He's feeling good about finding the problem and working towards a long-term solution. 

More than 700 metro Detroiters came to the FOX 2 healthy heart project to get free screenings at both Providence and St. John hospitals. Eighteen people had to go right to the emergency room.  
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