Tag Archives: American Heart Month

DHEC in the News: Flu, sewage discharge, American Heart Month & more

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

DHEC: Week 8 of high-activity flu season brings second child death to South Carolina

Horry County, S.C. (WPDE) — The eighth week of flu season brought the second flu-related child death of this year, according to a report by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

In its weekly flu watch report, DHEC said the week of Feb. 18 to Feb. 24 was the 11th consecutive week of widespread flu activity.

2 million gallons of sewage discharged into the Stono River

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Department of Health and Environmental control says an estimated 2.4 million gallons of sewage discharged into the headwaters of the Stono River over the course of 8 days.

According to DHEC, the Town of Hollywood noticed disruption of flow in a wastewater line on February 19, 2018. The disruption indicated a problem with the collection system.

Take care of your heart during Heart Health Month

Heart disease is a leading cause of early death and disability in South Carolina. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control encourages residents to adopt habits to keep their hearts healthy.

In 2016, heart disease was the second leading cause of death in the Palmetto State. But small changes can make a big difference.

General Interest

1 in 14 women still smokes while pregnant, CDC says

(CNN)About one in 14 pregnant women who gave birth in the United States in 2016 smoked cigarettes during her pregnancy, according to a report released Wednesday.

The findings, gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, revealed that 7.2% of all expectant mothers smoked — but that the percentage of pregnant smokers varied widely from state to state.

American Heart Month

By Sandra Anderson, MA
Program Coordinator
Division of Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and School Health


High blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease, is called the silent killer because it often has no warning signs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke. As February — American Heart Month  —  draws to a close, think of the many people affected by heart disease and take the below quiz to know YOUR risk.

Click here to take the Heart Disease Quiz.Warning

Heart disease does not respect your degree(s), amount of money in your bank account or the number of followers you have on social media.  Anyone can be at risk for heart disease and it is most prevalent in the Southeast region. In 2016, heart disease was the second leading cause of death in South Carolina. Chances are, we all know someone affected by heart disease, as 10,183 South Carolinians in 2016 died from it.

Adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle

Most people don’t know that heart disease is 80 percent preventable with education and lifestyle changes. Together we can change that by adopting the following heart-healthy lifestyle tips:

  • Schedule a check-up with your doctor to talk about heart health even if you don’t think you are sick.
  • Add physical activity to your daily routine; always check with your doctor before you start.
  • Cook heart-healthy meals at home at least three times a week, and make your favorite recipes using less salt.
  • If you currently smoke, let the S.C. Tobacco Quitline Help You Quit for Keeps; it can help you cut your risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Take medication prescribed by your doctor and know the importance of high blood pressure and cholesterol medications.

Know your numbers

 In addition to making the lifestyle changes above, knowing five numbers can help people and their doctors determine their risk for developing heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends knowing the below numbers to take control of your heart health:

  1. Total Cholesterol
  2. HDL – “Good” Cholesterol
  3. Blood Pressure
  4. Blood Sugar
  5. Body Mass Index (BMI)

To learn more about heart disease and what you can do to prevent or at least manage the disease click on this link:


DHEC in the News: American Heart Month, HIV, injury prevention in children and teens

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

“80% of heart disease is preventable, know your numbers.” Get heart healthy this month!

Columbia, S.C. (WACH) – February is heart health awareness month.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in the nation. It is also the second leading cause of death for all women in South Carolina.

It is the leading killer of African-American women in the Palmetto State according to results from the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

Highest number of positive HIV tests in a single month reported by North Charleston agency

More patients tested positive for HIV at Lowcountry AIDS Services in January than during any other month in the group’s 27-year history.

The support clinic tested roughly 130 people last month and seven of those tests were positive — an abnormally high number.

“People think HIV and AIDS are a thing of the past,” said Adam Weaver, prevention program manager for Lowcountry AIDS Services. “It’s really not.”

General Interest

Injury Prevention in Children & Teens

This week Bobbi Conner talks with Dr. Keith Borg about injury prevention during childhood.

From Other Blogs: Flu, women and heart disease, carbon monoxide & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

6 Things You Need to Know About This Flu Season

Seasonal flu activity has been intense this season. As of January 20, 2018, all 49 states in the continental United States reported widespread flu activity for three consecutive weeks. This is a first since CDC’s Influenza Division began tracking flu this way. It’s likely that flu activity will be elevated for many weeks to come. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Public Health Matters Blog

Women and heart disease: what every woman should know

You may be surprised to know that heart disease is the leading killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. In fact, approximately one woman dies from heart disease every minute. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

When can you go back to work or school after an illness?

Staying home when you’re sick is important, but how do you know when you’re okay to venture back into the world? Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic, offers some answers… — From Flourish

Are You Part of the Silent Epidemic?

You’ve heard of mammograms to find breast cancer and tests to find colorectal (colon) cancer. But do you know how to help prevent liver cancer?

There’s no screening test for liver cancer. But there is a screening test for hepatitis C, which is the leading cause of liver cancer. — From the CDC’s The Topic Is Cancer blog

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention

Every year, at least 430 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning. There are steps you can take to help protect yourself and your household from CO poisoning.

CO is found in fumes produced by portable generators, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment Blog

Let’s commit to improving South Carolinians’ heart health

By Lilian Peake, MD
Director, Health Services

Cardiovascular disease is a leading killer of South Carolinians and many of these deaths are avoidable. Communities, employers, health professionals and families can all play a role in preventing this disease.

This is particularly important in South Carolina: In 2015, there were more than 50,000 hospitalizations for heart disease, at a cost of more than $3.2 billion.

South Carolina’s heart disease death rate is above the national average and higher than our neighbors, North Carolina and Georgia. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s State Health Facts, in 2014 the heart disease death rate in the United States was 167 per 100,000 people. In South Carolina the death rate is 8 percent higher than the US rate and 14 percent higher than in North Carolina (181.1, compared to 158.7).


Dr. Lilian Peake

There are also disparities among groups affected. For example, the rate among African-Americans outpaces all others. The Palmetto State also has high rates of the conditions that lead to this disease, such as obesity and diabetes.

Much work has been done in an effort to turn the tide. We at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) consider our role key to helping achieve the level of improvement needed. Our vision is “Healthy people living in healthy communities.”

DHEC works with numerous community partners to improve cardiovascular health for all.

We assist in implementing CDC-recognized diabetes prevention programs and train lifestyle coaches.

DHEC also offers a heart disease and stroke prevention program called WISEWOMAN. This is offered at no cost to eligible women ages 40 to 64. Women are screened for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity; they obtain medical follow-up and referrals for abnormal screening results as well as referrals to free or low-cost community programs, such as workout classes, diabetes education, and free sessions with a personal health coach.

DHEC partners with the SC Institute of Medicine and Public Health to facilitate the implementation of the state’s Obesity Action Plan through the SCaledown initiative.

We work with communities to encourage policies, systems and environmental changes that lead to improved access to healthy foods and active lifestyles. One example is the Farm to Institution program where we partner with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education. We educate the public, partner with health systems, and design wellness programs statewide.

DHEC also funds the Quitline to help South Carolinians quit smoking.

Other organizations, including the South Carolina Hospital Association, the South Carolina Chapter of the American Heart Association, A Million Hearts, the South Carolina Medical Association, the Heart2Heart Foundation and more are also doing admirable work in an effort to address this important health issue.

But there is much more work to do. We need your help. You too play an important role in improving heart health in South Carolina. And what better time to get started than this month — American Heart Month?

So what are some things you can do?

  • Commit to a healthy lifestyle — exercise daily, eat healthier and take medication as prescribed.
  • Stop Call 800-Quit-NOW for free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges to eligible South Carolinians.
  • Become a WISEWOMAN participant if eligible; call 800-227-2345 to see if you qualify.
  • Have your blood pressure checked.
  • Create physical activities such as walking or group exercise at work.

Obviously, there are many more actions we can take as employers, health care providers or families. With the right level of commitment, we can improve heart health in South Carolina. Will you help?