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DES MOINES, Iowa — February is National Heart Health Month. To celebrate, Hy-Vee is giving out free biometric screenings to central Iowans.

The American Heart Association reports that nearly half of Americans have a cardiovascular disease. However, many don’t know that they do. One of the biggest signs of a heart problem is high blood pressure. Medical professionals call high blood pressure the silent killer because it lacks obvious symptoms. If you never detect this problem, you’re at a higher risk of heart attacks, kidney failure, and strokes.

This is why Hy-Vee is urging Iowans to take advantage of these free screenings. A biometric screening is a combination of measurements and readings about certain health factors that may help identify potential chronic diseases or conditions, like heart disease, hypertension or diabetes.

Hy-Vee dietitians will collect a blood sample from a finger prick, take your blood pressure and calculate your BMI. Once they get your results, they’ll give you personalized tips on how to live a healthier lifestyle to prevent long term illnesses.

“In time, you make those changes those numbers change while they either decrease or increase to where they need to be,” Registered Dietician, Ashle Daniels said. “And then you can go back to the doctor and see that difference.”

Daniels said it’s important to cut down on sodium intake and half of your meal every day should be filled with fruits and vegetables.

When asked about the disadvantages lower income communities face with not as organic options or grocery stores, Daniels said produce is produce. All fruits and vegetables have the same health benefits no matter what they look like.

“If you can get in an apple or berries, some asparagus, some zucchini. Whatever it is just because it has a couple of dents in it, or it doesn’t look the prettiest, that doesn’t mean that it’s not good for you,” Daniels said.

Hy-Vee will be doing these screenings out of their Hy-Vee Health Mobiles and the entire screening takes no more than 15 to 20 minutes.

All screenings will take place between 7am- 11am. Here is the list of local Hy-Vee locations participating:

· Feb 7 / 2540 E. Euclid Ave.
· Feb 8 / 4605 Fleur Drive
· Feb 15 / 375 S. Jordan Creek Parkway
· Feb 21 / 1900 Grande Avenue
· Feb 22 / 555 S. 51stStreet