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Free Health Tests, Allamakee County Trivia and “Be The Match” Sampling at Allamakee County Fair

Visitors to the Veterans Memorial Hospital Fair Booth this year will be invited to play Allamakee Trivia, being asked about the wide variety of resources that are now all offered through the new Allamakee County Public Health Resource Guide.  Prizes will be awarded, provided by Veterans Memorial Hospital and Mental Health Today-Matt Howe foundation, that will promote the future use of this guide.  The game is open to all ages.

Also, the hospital will again be offering “Be the Match” stem cell sampling for everyone ages 18-40 at fair.  The “Be the Match” stem cell sampling is quick, easy, painless and can truly save a life.  This is the same program that Robyn Roberts from Good Morning America endorses following her own successful bone marrow transplant match 10 years ago.  A blood stem cell donation can be a cure for blood cancer, sickle cell, and other deadly diseases. Many patients and their families are counting on drives like this to find their match. The process is simple and painless and will be available for all visitors to the fair.

Veterans Memorial Hospital will also be offering free blood pressure checks, blood sugar tests and hemoglobin testing each day at the Allamakee County Fair with educational materials provided for each.

Thousands of people in the United States have diabetes and are unaware they do.  Random testing such as this opportunity at the county fair helps to find the individuals who have high, undiagnosed diabetes and direct them to the professionals who can help them successfully manage the disease.

The symptoms of diabetes include a lack of energy, increased hunger, frequent urination and excessive thirst, blurred vision, loss of feelings in hands and toes, frequent, slow-healing infections and weight loss.

It is recommended that adults age 45 and older be screened for diabetes yearly. People under age 45 should be tested yearly if they are at high risk for diabetes. Risk factors include:

  • Being overweight.
  • 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 a pregnancy.
  • Having blood pressure at or above 140/90.
  • 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.

Elevated blood sugars can be found through a simple finger poke blood sugar screening, with results within seconds.  Anyone who has an elevated blood sugar will be encouraged to follow up with their physician in a timely manner for further testing to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes.

Diabetes can lead to serious and often life-threatening complications. The common areas of the body that are affected include the eyes, kidneys, nerves and the blood vessels. The eyes can suffer such complications as blurred vision, cataracts, damage to the retina, and blindness. The nerves may experience numbness/tingling sensations especially in the legs, hands and feet, diarrhea or constipation, sexual difficulties and loss of bladder control. Blood vessels experience a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries, causing possible heart attacks or stroke, blocked veins in the legs, foot ulcers and eventually amputations.

High blood sugar and diabetes can be successfully controlled through meal planning, weight loss, exercise, monitoring of the blood sugar level and, when needed, even medication.   By holding these random screenings, diabetes staff hope this will allow individuals who have no idea they may have borderline or high blood sugar to make those needed lifestyle changes now.  Each test takes just a couple minutes to complete and they do not require any fasting. Free educational materials on diabetes will also be handed out.

For more information on diabetes and diabetes management, please call Angie Mettille, BSN/RN/CDCES, Diabetes Educator, at Veterans Memorial Hospital at (563) 568-3411.

As always, Veterans Memorial Hospital will have a medical kit available for any first aide emergencies on the Fairgrounds.  The hospital booth will be located inside the Fairgrounds Pavilion building on the stage area on Thursday and Friday, July 18 and 19, from 11 am-8 pm, and on Saturday, July 20, from 9 am-3pm.