Ideas for giving that show you really care

Finding that perfect holiday gift can be a challenge. This holiday season, give up the endless searching for something out of the ordinary, something the recipient doesn’t already have. Consider giving the gift of good health.

Give health screenings

Simple, routine health screenings help catch chronic and potentially life-threatening diseases early so lifestyle changes or medical intervention can stop them before it’s too late. We all know we need them, but often we don’t make the time to follow through. Heart disease risk screenings, in particular, make a great gift because they can determine a lot about future health and they are relatively inexpensive. A heart disease risk screening usually includes a look at the person’s risk factors and a check of blood pressure, total cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index.

“A regular heart screening is important because it helps detect changes in heart health in its earliest stages,” said Janet L. Smith, M.D., cardiologist. “This way, we can treat risk factors with lifestyle changes or medications before they lead to the development of heart disease.”

Other important screenings to consider are calcium scoring for heart disease, vascular disease screenings or an osteoporosis screening.

Give health-related ‘toys’

Looking for a pretty package to wrap up? How about a gift to put your loved one on the path to fitness, such as activity monitoring tools or exercise equipment? Popular monitoring tools include the Nike+ FuelBand, Jawbone UP and similar products that track exercise, food intake, sleep, heart rate, blood pressure and more.

Exercise equipment comes in all sizes, from a simple jump rope or exercise band to dumbbells and home gyms. Surely there is something perfect for your special someone.

Give of yourself too

The need for blood donors is at its highest during the holiday season. While you’re out doing your holiday shopping, stop by a blood drive and give a little of yourself. To find a blood drive near you, visit www.redcrossblood.org. Also consider registering on the bone marrow donor registry or signing up to be an organ donor. For more information on these types of giving, visit www.bethematch.org and www.organdonor.gov.

This holiday season, give your loved ones the nudge they may need to stay on top of their health.

–Joyce Retz

About our expert
Janet L. Smith, M.D., is medical director of the Norton Women’s Heart & Vascular Center and a cardiologist with Norton Cardiovascular Associates, The Springs Medical Center, Suite 200, 6420 Dutchmans Parkway, Louisville, KY 40205; (502) 891-8300


Norton Healthcare offers several heart and vascular health screenings that are perfect for gift-giving!

Heart disease risk screening: $75
Cholesterol, blood pressure, HbA1c (blood glucose), body mass index and more

Vascular screenings: $75 for three; $30 each
Carotid artery scan, abdominal aortic scan, ankle brachial index

Cardiac calcium scoring: $150
An indicator of heart disease

Call (502) 629-1234 to schedule a screening.