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By Caroline Brown
Special to The PREVIEW
This is the weekend to “Own Your Health” at the Pagosa Springs 9Health Fair on Saturday, April 5 from 7 a.m. to noon at the Pagosa Springs High School. The 9Health Fair is open to everyone age 18 or older.
Screenings offered at 9Health Fairs can indicate potential problems and identify serious issues such as heart disease, prostrate cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, thyroid problems or anemia at an early, treatable stage, before symptoms are evident.
In preparation to have your blood drawn at the 9Health Fair, be sure to drink plenty of water, do not eat in the 12 hours prior to your visit (unless you are diabetic) and continue taking your regular prescribed medication.
Drinking plenty of water the night before and the morning of the 9Health Fair is the best way to prevent any issues during the blood draw experience. No matter how many blood tests you choose, one small needle does it all.
The 9Health Fair will offer five blood tests ranging in cost from $15 to $40, which provide measurements of key overall indicators that assist participants with discussing their health and any areas of concern with their doctors or health care providers.
The basic blood chemistry test, $30, measures the levels of 27 indicators that provide a baseline check on the overall health of blood sugar (glucose), triglycerides, liver, kidney, bone and thyroid functions as well as cholesterol levels.
The blood cell count, $15, measures white blood cells, hematocrit, hemoglobin levels and blood-clotting abilities, which indicates your ability to fight infection and may identify anemia.
The Hemoglobin A1C test, $25, measures your average blood sugar for the past two to three months, indicating your risk of diabetes or your effectiveness at managing your diabetes.
Free vouchers are available for the $30 blood chemistry test. Please call 731-4248 to see if you qualify.
The Vitamin D test, $40, measures the level of Vitamin D, which has been found to be at very low levels across the country due to reduced sun exposure, increased use of sunscreen and low levels of fortified milk consumption. Vitamin D plays an important role in protecting bones and preventing osteoporosis.
The PSA test, $25, is for men over 40 with a family history of prostate cancer, or males between 50 and 75.
A take-home colon cancer test is sold for $20. It is a mail-in test that checks for blood in the stool.
In addition to the low-cost blood tests, free medical screenings are provided by volunteer professionals including blood pressure, breast exam, spinal exam, ask a pharmacist, oral cancer screening, hearing, vision, bone density, body fat skin fold and height, weight and BMI. There will also be an area where you can ask a medical question and get a referral.
Another benefit of the 9Health Fair is Interactive Education Centers (IEC) that provide educational brochures and visual one-on-one demonstrations to increase public awareness and encourage healthy lifestyles.
There will be many local health professionals and community organizations at the Pagosa 9Health Fair including Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon, American Cancer Society, Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program, Bone Marrow Donation, Recruitment and Education Program, Organ Donor Awareness, Colorado State Patrol, Gluten Sensitivity Information, Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center, Ruby Sisson Library, Colorado State Extension Office, Veteran’s Services, Pagosa Springs Fire Protection District, Pagosa Springs Medical Center and San Juan Basin Health Department.
After you have had your blood drawn, enjoy reasonably priced coffee and breakfast burritos in the commons area provided by the Pagosa Springs High School SKILLS USA and FFA as a fundraiser.
Credit cards are not accepted when you register at the high school on April 5. However, you can pre-register online with a credit card at www.9healthfair.org/FindAFair. You must complete your online registration at least 24 hours prior to April 5. If you register online, you will still have to go to a registration table, but not the cashier table. You will also have to wait in the blood draw line with all the other participants.
Come out on Saturday, April 5 to the 9Health Fair from 7 a.m. to noon at the high school where you can visit with your friends and neighbors, as well as take advantage of low-cost blood tests, free medical screenings and an abundance of health-related information and education.
Local sponsors and partners of the Pagosa Springs 9Health Fair include LPEA, Bank of Colorado, Pagosa Springs Medical Center, City Market and The Pagosa Springs SUN. If you have questions or need more information, please call 731-4248.