Ingalls/Rotary Fair is a Lifesaver for Hazel Crest Village Clerk

For Mary Grant, the 2010 Ingalls Health System & Homewood Rotary Club Health Fair proved to be a real lifesaver.

This past April, Mary was talking to a friend at work who told her about the 27th annual Free Family Health Fair, which offers area residents the opportunity to get checked from head to toe with more than 35 screenings and health services. Mary's friend encouraged her to get checked out.

Mary, who has a family history of heart problems, was particularly interested in the free 12-lead EKG (electrocardiogram), a simple painless test that records the heart's electrical activity.

"An EKG provides important information about a person's heart rhythm, a previous heart attack, increased thickness of the heart muscle, and signs of decreased oxygen delivery to the heart," explains Dilip Shah, M.D., board-certified cardiologist on staff at Ingalls who interpreted EKGs at the annual health fair. Dr. Shah has been a dedicated volunteer at this event for many years.

"I'd never had an EKG before, so I was intrigued," Mary admits. "I went online to find out more about the fair and where it was."

The morning of the event, Mary went to church and then considered skipping the health fair altogether.

But she went, had the test, and to her shock, the EKG was abnormal.

"Dr. Shah took one look at it and said 'You need a stress test,'" she recalls.

Mary followed up with her family doctor, who discovered her stress test was abnormal too. Within weeks, Mary underwent a cardiac catheterization at Ingalls, where she was given two stents to open up an artery that was 95 percent blocked.

Today, the energetic public servant feels better than ever and even managed to walk the parade route of the Hazelnut Festival last August.

"I wasn't able to do that the previous year," she said. "When I look back, I guess I was having symptoms, but I blamed my shortness of breath on being overweight. Now I'm thinking that the indigestion I had been feeling wasn't indigestion at all."

"The Ingalls Health Fair saved my life," Mary added. "If you haven't had an EKG, have it done. It takes so little time and is well worth it."

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