More than 650 people are expected to take advantage of the free health services offered at the McDuffie County Health Fair Saturday at Thomson High School from 8 a.m. until noon.
This is the 30th year of the event that draws large numbers to Thomson for free health screenings. Last year, visitors came from as far away as Sparta, Louisville, Washington, Lincolnton, Loganville, Sandersville, Greensboro, Athens, McCormick and Aiken.
"When we first started the fair, we had only a blood pressure check and heart analysis," said organizer Dot Cofer of Thomson. "We have certainly grown. This year we will have some 17 tests and screenings, and 30 educational exhibits."
Tests offered at no charge include, blood pressure, height, weight, lung function, bone density, hearing, vision, glaucoma, depression screening, and other specialized tests.
"Those wishing for the bone density test should wear removable socks or knee hosiery, no pantyhose," said Mrs. Cofer.
This year, the Health Fair will feature the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) blood chemistry combined with six heart calculations (lipid panel) including HDL/LDL (good and bad cholesterol and triglycerides) for a low price, thanks to many contributors, Mrs. Cofer said.
In addition to the regular glucose, etc., the CMP picks up problems with liver and kidney function and electrolytes for heart function in addition to other factors. This test has a charge of $20. For an additional charge of $6, patients can receive a thyroid test. A Prostate Cancer Test (PSA) is offered to men over 45. The cost for this is $14. (The PSA is part of the blood chemistry rather than a physical exam, said the organizer.)
Mrs. Cofer pointed out that diabetics will receive their blood glucose reading in the CMP blood test, mentioned above, but they may wish to go a step further with the Hemoglobin A1C test ($14) that gives an average blood glucose reading for the past 3 months. This test fine-tunes the amount of control a person has been able to achieve.
"Doctors of diabetic patients really need to know the amount of glucose sticking to the red blood cells," said Mrs. Cofer. An overabundance of glucose leads to serious vessel problems.
A blood drawing fee of $3.00 will cover costs as sending the results to the patient and doctor.
"Those interested in the blood test should not eat for 8 to 12 hours before the test," she said. "Food will affect the cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose readings. But, should your schedule not allow fasting, other values are unaffected by food," Mrs. Cofer said.
The CMP can still detect problems concerning the heart, liver, kidneys, chemical balance, gastro-intestinal problems, electrolyte balance etc.
Participants should be reminded to have their blood pressure checked before having any blood work done, she said.
A light snack will be provided for all having the blood chemistry test.
A wide variety of educational exhibits will be offered. Local health care agencies will be showing their services. Several professors from The Medical College of Georgia and physicians in private practice will be presenting such subjects as osteoporosis, teen and children's developmental problems, various heart procedures, menopause and sickle cell updates.
Also, one participant will win $100 in a drawing by having visited the educational booths, Mrs. Cofer said.
Thomson High School is located on White Oak Road, Highway 223, just east of the Thomson by-pass. Visitors should park in the student parking lot on the Augusta side of the school.
This event is without admission charge and is open for anyone interested. Testing stations are prepared to accommodate the needs of children, seniors and all adults. For more information, one may call the Health Fair hotline 706-595-2501.