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Take advantage of free ISU Health Fair

Idaho State Journal - 3/13/2018

Some health problems of concern in Idaho include diabetes, pre-diabetes (your blood glucose, or sugar, level is above normal, but not in the diabetes range yet), high blood pressure, heart disease, and poor oral health.

Data from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for 2016 show that about 111,500 Idaho adults 18 years or older had diagnosed diabetes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 560,000 Idaho adults live with pre-diabetes.

About one-third of Idaho adults living with diabetes do not know they have the disease. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Idaho and the direct medical cost of diabetes in Idaho is more than $172 million peryear.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is another health concern and may not show symptoms. Blood pressure can be normal ( 120/ 80 mmHg), elevated (120-129/ 80 mmHg), or stage 1 (130-139 or 80-89 mmHg) or stage 2 (=140 or =90 mmHg) hypertension.

The CDC estimates that about 75 million American adults have high blood pressure — that’s one in every three people! High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.

People with high blood pressure should be screened for other heart disease risk factors like tobacco use, diabetes, high cholesterol and triglycerides, excess body fat, a low fitness level, unhealthy nutrition habits, psychosocial stress, and sleep apnea.

Oral health is extremely important to general health and well-being for both children and adults.

Dental disease in childhood often sets the stage for a lifetime of poor oral health and can place a financial burden on the family. According to the CDC, children who have poor oral health miss more school days and earn lower grades than children who do not.

The CDC also reports that more than one in four adults have untreated tooth decay, and nearly half of adults in the United States have periodontitis, the more advanced form of gum disease. Poor oral health can cause problems beyond just tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

Research has shown a link between poor oral health and several common diseases or conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory illnesses. Fortunately, poor oral health can be treated or prevented with proper oral hygiene at home and regular visits to an oral healthcare professional.

Health screenings for the early detection of diseases can allow for early treatment that lowers the risk of serious problems or complications. It also allows you to modify lifestyle habits for the prevention or better management of diseases.

Health screenings for early detection are different from “diagnostic” tests, which are done when someone may have signs and/or symptoms of a disease. Some examples of health screenings include:

n Blood cholesterol and triglyceride tests: High amounts of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) and triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood) can increase your risk for heart disease. High triglycerides may mean that your body is not handling fats very well. It can also be a sign that you have other metabolic issues like higher blood glucose.

n Blood glucose and hemoglobinA1c tests: Blood glucose (sugar) tests show how well your body is able to use energy from foods high in carbohydrate. HemoglobinA1c measures the amount of glucose that has been in the blood during the past 3 months. Higher levels of glucose can be a sign that you are at risk for or have diabetes. Diabetes can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, and can damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

n Blood pressure checks: High blood pressure makes your heart work too hard and can cause serious health problems like stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.

n Foot exams: People who have diabetes are at a higher risk of foot injuries that can become serious. The nerve damage that sometimes occurs in people with diabetes can cause a loss of feeling in their feet. Foot checks can help healthcare providers find and treat injuries on your feet before they become serious, which decreases the risk of amputation.

Knowing your levels of blood fats, glucose, and blood pressure is the first step in making lifestyle changes to improve your health.

The good news is that many of the same lifestyle habits can help you prevent or manage blood cholesterol and triglycerides, blood pressure, and glucose levels.

A healthier lifestyle should include eating more plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables; lean protein foods; fatty fish twice a week; nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils and other foods rich in healthy fats; and fewer sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and fatty red meats.

Being active every day and getting enough sleep are also important to promote your health.

The health screening tests you need depend on your age, your sex, your family history, and whether you have risk factors for any diseases. Some health screenings can be done at community health fair events like the Idaho State University (ISU) Health Fair.

The ISU Health Fair offers a free health screening for anyone attending the event. The health screenings are completed by ISU students and faculty from several health profession programs.

The screenings include blood pressure and heart rate, blood glucose testing, medication review, foot assessment, oral health screening, and anxiety and depression screening. You can also have questions answered and receive information about lifestyle changes to manage or prevent diseases. You may also be encouraged to talk with your healthcare provider about the screening results.

Reduced-fee blood draw services for health screening tests like cholesterol and triglycerides are also available during the ISU Health Fair. There are also more than 65 educational booths from ISU health-related programs and businesses and programs from the Pocatello community and will include educational and preventive care activities and handouts.

This year, the ISU Health Fair is scheduled on March 15 and 16, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Pond Student Union Building. The free health screening event will be in the Wood River Room.

The Bengal Lab will offer laboratory services in the Little Wood River Room, and the educational booths will be in the Ballroom. Entrance to the ISU Health Fair is through the door by the Bengal Theater. Please plan to join us!

Carol Kirkpatrick is the director of the Idaho State University Wellness Center and Colleen Stephenson is the community outreach coordinator, Department of Dental Hygiene, Idaho State University, Kasiska Division of Health Sciences.


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