Vascular risk assessment screening program extended

The health of our University community is of the utmost importance, and as our population continues to age, certain risk factors cannot be avoided.

In October, the University introduced a Vascular Risk Assessment screening program for employees, and due to its overwhelming success, will continue with the program in January 2010.

Vascular disease (heart disease, diseases of the blood vessels and stroke) is the leading cause of death in North America, and accounts for the death of more Canadians than any other disease. In 2005, vascular disease accounted for 71,338 Canadian deaths.

The average age of University of Lethbridge employees is 45. Combine that with the fact that the risk of developing vascular disease increases dramatically by age 50, and it's readily apparent we have an at-risk population.

Employees are the U of L's most vital asset, and it is important to provide a risk assessment program and some follow up education and direction to employees so that they can reduce their risk of developing vascular disease.

The screening process itself is very quick and efficient, and only takes about 15 minutes. A finger poke blood sample is collected to measure LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol, as well as blood lipid and fasting glucose levels. The height, weight, waist circumference and blood pressure are also measured and all data is entered into a computer software program provided by Pfizer Canada. This program generates a visual report that calculates the individual's absolute and relative cardiovascular risk as compared to other Canadians in the same gender and age category.

Those interested in taking part in the next round of the Vascular Risk Assessment program in January 2010 can contact Suzanne McIntosh at 5217 or via e-mail at

Suzanne McIntosh is the co-ordinator, Wellness Programs at the University of Lethbridge.