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St. Mary’s to host health fair

For those who took part in the Rotary Blood Screening about a month ago, now is the time to learn what all those results mean and what to do about them.

And for those of you who didn’t go through the blood screening, it doesn’t matter. The Essentia Health sponsored Health Fair is free and open to everyone.

“We are offering provider-led presentations about the results from the blood screening lab tests,” said Administrative Assistant Julie Poore.

Essentia Health St. Mary’s also asked the community for feedback through the Community Health Assessment program, and found that pre-diabetes education is one of the most important health concerns right now.

So along with various other diabetes and pre-diabetes education throughout the year, the health fair is being held to assist with that education as well.

The Health Fair is Tuesday, Oct. 15, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Essentia Health St. Mary’s, Detroit Lakes.

“At 5 and 6 p.m., a provider will talk about the tests and what the high, low and normal ranges are,” Poore said. “In addition, participants to the health fair can meet one-on-one with a provider to ask a specific health question.”

Besides speakers, there will be booths set up that people can peruse, and information distributed for visitors to take home and read more about.

In the past, St. Mary’s has hosted a physician to talk about the blood screening numbers, but this health fair will be much more in-depth than that.

At the health fair, there will also be health risk assessments, blood pressure checks and BMI calculations.

There will be “health assessments so that anybody can complete a form on their own and see whether or not they feel like they are at risk,” Poore said.

The American Diabetes Association offers a risk test Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?, as does the Minnesota Department of Health & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention with the I Can Prevent Diabetes Risk Questionnaire.

The tests consist of questions regarding weight, age, family history and other diabetes risk factors.  Points are given for each answer.  The total points indicate the level of risk for diabetes.  People at higher risk are encouraged to see their health care provider.

Essentia Health St. Mary’s Cindy Bailey, RN, BS, MS, CDE, diabetes education coordinator, and Hope Mathern, DNP/NP-C, family medicine, said that physical activity and weight loss are the two most influential things, along with healthy eating, that can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

Losing just 7 percent of body weight along with regular physical activity, healthy eating and drinking enough water are all geared toward reducing risks for diabetes and other diseases.

According to the American Diabetes Association and the Minnesota Department of Health, the latest statistics show that 79 million (35 percent) American adults have pre-diabetes and 26 million (11.3 percent) Americans have diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is when blood sugar (glucose) is higher than normal, but not high enough to say someone has diabetes.  Finding out if you are at risk for diabetes is the first step to preventing or delaying the disease and its numerous associated complications.

Health fair participants can also sample nutritious snacks at the Tasters Table and talk with a dietitian or pick up recipes.

There will be demonstrations and handouts about physical therapy exercises, and flu shots will be available for $37.

“We’re really trying to tie it back to having a healthy community — that we’re here trying to work towards that by being proactive with information,” Poore said.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.