Health Fair Can Help Keep Healthy This Winter

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The annual Community Health and Care Fair will be held from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Nov. 6 in the “old” gym at Payson High School.

Residents who generally do not receive regular health checkups are encouraged to attend this free health event says Payson Regional Medical Center, Hospice Compassus and the Mogollon Health Alliance who are the event sponsors.

Health vendors will provide blood draws and testing, skin-cancer screenings, dental checks, blood pressure checks, basic breast exams, hearing tests, peripheral vascular disease screenings and more.

At the event, children’s screenings will be provided. Youngsters can have dental exams, heart and lung exams and vision and hearing tests. Parents can get nutrition information and have their children fingerprinted.

Other programs offered include complete lipid panel testing which includes fasting blood sugar and PSAs for men. These tests have a fee of $10 for women and $15 for men.

Immunizations are also available. The cost is $25 for flu shots and $50 for pneumonia. Medicare and most insurance are accepted and there is no appointment necessary.

In addition to the tests and exams, the Community Health and Care Fair will include resource information from Gila County Health and Community Services, Relay for Life, Lions Club, Rim Country Rotary, Healthy Woman Online, the Time Out Shelter, Payson Athletic Club MHAX III cardiac rehab program, Payson Regional Medical Center Home Health, Payson Care Center and many other community organizations.

American Diabetes Month

At the Community Health and Care Fair, participants can also have a fasting blood sugar test.

Why is this test important? People over age 45 should be tested for diabetes or if they have any of these symptoms:

• Being more than 20 percent over ideal body weight, or having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than or equal to 27

• Having a first-degree relative with diabetes (mother, father or sibling)

• Being a member of a high-risk ethnic group (African-American, Hispanic, Asian or Native American)

• Delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pounds, or having diabetes during pregnancy

• Having blood pressure at or above 140/90 mm/Hg

• Having abnormal blood fat levels, such as high-density lipoproteins (HDL) less than or equal to 35 mg/dL, or triglycerides greater than or equal to 250 mg/dL (mg/dL = milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood)

• Having a sedentary lifestyle

• Having impaired glucose tolerance when previously tested for diabetes

• Having polycystic ovarian syndrome

Blood glucose monitoring

Blood glucose levels (also called blood sugar levels) are signs of how well diabetes is being controlled and how well the plan of care (diet, exercise and medication) is working. If the blood sugar levels are consistently under control (with levels near normal), diabetes complications may be prevented or slowed down in their progression.

How can blood sugar levels be checked?

Checking blood glucose levels regularly is very important in proper diabetes management. Current methods of blood sugar monitoring require a blood sample. Blood sugar monitoring can be done at home with a variety of invasive devices to obtain the blood sample (invasive means the penetration of body tissue with a medical instrument).

Usually a drop of blood obtained through a finger prick is sufficient to use on a test strip that is then measured in a monitor.

A finger prick can be done with a small lancet (special needle) or with a spring-loaded lancet device that punctures the fingertip quickly. The drop of blood is placed on a testing strip. The testing strip is then placed in a blood glucose monitor (also called a glucose meter), which reads the blood sugar level.

There are many types of monitors on the market today, ranging in price, ease of use, size, portability, and length of testing time. Each monitor requires its own type of testing strip. Blood glucose monitors have been found to be accurate and reliable if correctly used, and most monitors provide results within two minutes.

Some glucose monitors can also give verbal testing instructions and verbal test results for people who are visually or physically impaired. There are also glucose monitors available that provide verbal instructions in Spanish and other languages.

Persons with diabetes may have to check their blood sugar levels up to four times a day. Blood sugar levels can be affected by several factors, including the following: diet, diabetes medication, exercise, stress, and/or illness.

Certain blood glucose monitors are equipped with data-management systems, which means your blood glucose measurement is automatically stored each time. Some physician offices have computer systems compatible with these data-management systems, which allow the blood sugar level recordings, and other information, to be transferred electronically. One advantage of a data-management system is the ability to plot a graph on the computer depicting patterns of blood sugar levels.

What are noninvasive blood glucose monitors?

A finger prick can become painful and difficult for a person with diabetes to do on a regular basis. Several noninvasive devices (that do not require an actual blood sample) are currently being researched to provide persons with diabetes an alternative. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not yet approved most noninvasive blood glucose monitoring devices. Some noninvasive devices currently under investigation include:

• The use of infrared light to shine through the forearm or finger

• The use of low-level electrical currents to draw blood up through the skin

• The use of saliva or tears to measure glucose levels

What are healthy blood sugar level ranges?

Blood sugar levels over 200 mg/dL (mg/dL = milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood) or less than 60 mg/dL are considered unhealthy. High blood sugar levels (above 200 mg/dL) may be a sign of inadequate levels of insulin, caused by diabetes medication, overeating, lack of exercise, or other factors.

Low blood sugar levels (below 70 mg/dL) may be caused by taking too much insulin, skipping or postponing a meal, over-exercising, excessive alcohol consumption, or other factors.

The following are the most common symptoms of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include: rapid weight loss; feeling sick; thirst; vomiting; fatigue; blurred vision; fainting.

The following are the most common symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.

Symptoms may include: hunger; fatigue; shakiness; headaches; confusion; dizziness; sudden moodiness or behavior changes; sweating; pale skin color.

For more information on this year’s Community Health and Care Fair, call (928) 472-2588.

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