By Caroline Brown
Special to The PREVIEW
Hundreds of volunteers have been working for several months coordinating 9Health Fairs throughout Colorado. On Saturday, April 6, from 7 a.m. to noon, Pagosa will host its 9Health Fair at the high school.
Local volunteers have worked hard to bring this service to our community and we hope you will take advantage of this once-a-year event.
The Pagosa Springs 9Health Fair is not able to accept credit or debit cards. Please bring cash or a personal check for the low-cost blood screenings that are available to anyone 18 years or older. For $30, you can select the blood chemistry screening, which provides baseline information on your cholesterol, blood sugar (glucose), triglycerides, liver, kidney, bone, thyroid and muscle function. The results of this screening may also show warning signs of diabetes and heart disease.
The blood cell count screening is offered at $15 and gives you a general picture of your overall health by checking your white blood cells, hematocrit, hemoglobin levels and blood-clotting abilities. Your body’s ability to fight infection, anemia, liver disease and certain cancers can be discovered with this screening.
Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a worldwide problem. Many studies also suggest an association between low Vitamin D levels and an increased risk of certain types of cancers, nerve disease, immune disease and heart disease. This screening is used to provide you with a baseline level of Vitamin D and is available for $40.
The hemoglobin A1C test shows your average blood glucose over the last 60 to 90 days. This screening could potentially reduce the number of patients with undiagnosed diabetes or pre-diabetes and kidney disease. This screening is offered for $25.
A PSA screening for men measures a protein that is only produced by the male prostate gland. Elevations of PSA may occur in men with non-cancerous prostate diseases or prostate cancer. This blood draw screening is available for $25.
This year, the Pagosa Springs 9Health Fair was chosen to participate in a pilot program for gluten sensitivity, which is a lifelong digestive disorder. Gluten is a protein that comes from grains such as flours, bread products, and pasta to name a few examples. Gluten sensitivity can lead to other health issues, such as anemia, osteoporosis, depression and infertility. A few symptoms of gluten sensitivity are gas and bloating, stomach cramping, diarrhea, weight loss, tiredness and joint pain. Certain people may not experience any symptoms. You must have gluten present in your diet for up to 4–6 weeks prior to being tested. This $45 blood test will help you and your doctor determine if you need to make dietary changes.
All of these screenings will give you and your doctor the information to monitor your health and prevent health issues from becoming emergencies. No matter how many blood screenings you choose, one small needle does it all. You must fast 12 hours prior to these blood draws and drink plenty of water. You can have black coffee or black tea and continue to take your regular medications. If you are diabetic, do not fast.
A take-home colon cancer screening kit for men and women over 50 will be available on Saturday for $20.
After you have had your blood drawn, enjoy breakfast or lunch provided as a fund-raiser by the Pagosa Springs High School SKILLS members.
In addition to the potentially life-saving blood tests, other health screenings are offered at no cost. You can get checked for height, weight and body mass index, vision, and skin fold. Basic breast exams, spinal and oral health evaluations are available as well as bone density screening. You can also have your blood pressure and pulse rate checked.
Health education is an essential part of 9Health Fairs and each fair has Interactive Education Centers or IECs. At Pagosa’s fair on Saturday, volunteers and representatives from local health and human services will be available to answer questions and provide information about their organizations. A sampling of IECs scheduled to be at Saturday’s fair are San Juan Basin Health, Archuleta County Senior Services, Pagosa Springs Medical Center, Veterans Services, Ask a Pharmacist, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-non, Ruby Sisson Library, Colorado Neurological Institute, Area Agency on Aging, Relay for Life, American Cancer Society and Women’s Wellness Connection.
The mission of a 9Health Fair is to promote health awareness and encourage individuals to assume responsibility for their own health. In Pagosa, you can do this by spending an hour or so at our local 9Health Fair, visit with your friends and neighbors, select the low cost blood screenings of your choice, take advantage of other medical screenings at no cost, and benefit from the Interactive Education Centers.
Supporters and sponsors of the Pagosa Springs 9Health Fair include Pagosa Springs Medical Center, The Pagosa Springs SUN, Bank of Colorado and City Market.
For more information, call the site coordinator, Caroline Brown, at 731-4248.