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Annual McDuffie County Health fair is planned for June 3 at Thomson High School

More than 650 people are expected to take advantage of the free health services offered at the McDuffie County Health Fair Saturday, June 3, at Thomson High School, from 8 a.m. until noon.

This is the 29th 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, Sandersville, Greensboro, Athens, McCormick and Aiken, S.C.

"Some were even visiting family and friends in Thomson and were from Florida, Illinois and Maryland," said Dot Cofer, organizer of the health fair.

Tests offered at no charge include, blood pressure, height, weight, lung function, bone density, hearing, vision, glaucoma, depression screening, foot checks, blood typing, oxygen levels, and other specialized tests. Ms. Cofer said anyone wishing to take advantage of the bone density test or the foot checks should wear removable socks or knee hosiery.

"When we first started the fair, we had only a blood pressure check and heart analysis," said Ms. Cofer. "It was held at our drive-in bank, and I invited the Thomson High Band to perform just so we would have someone there. I believe our attendance was around 78 people."

Since then, the event has grown to feature 17 tests and screening and 40 educational exhibits.

Event organizers are excited about the special feature of the health fair: the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) blood chemistry with 6 heart calculations including HDL/LDL (good and bad cholesterol and tryglycerides) for a very low price, thanks to many contributors. This test has a charge of $19. For an additional charge of $6, one can receive a thyroid test. A Prostate Cancer Test (PSA) is offered to men over 45. The cost for this is $14.

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 three 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," Ms. Cofer said, adding that an overabundance of glucose leads to serious vessel problems.

A blood drawing fee of $3 will cover such costs as sending the results to both you and your doctor.

"Those interested in the blood test should not eat for eight to 12 hours before the test. Food will affect the cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose readings. But, should your schedule not allow fasting, other values are unaffected by food," Ms. Cofer said. The CMP can still detect problems concerning the heart, liver, kidneys, chemical balance, gastro-intestinal problems, electrolyte balance, etc.

Thanks to local restaurants and grocery stores, a light snack will be provided for all having the blood chemistry test.

The "big event" for the educational phase of the fair will be an exhibit by famous heart transplant surgeon, Dr. Lionel Zumbro.

Recently, Dr. Zumbro opened a practice in Augusta where he offers state-of-the-art vein care. This new surgery is called the "Closure" procedure - a minimally invasive procedure that treats varicose veins and their underlying cause, venous reflux, with little or no pain.

He also treats spider veins. Dr. Zumbro is looking forward to coming to Thomson to show videos and give out information about his new vein care procedure.

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, sports medicine and athletic type injuries, tissue donation, teen and children's developmental problems, sleep disorders and Sickle Cell updates.

"This health fair is a little different from most fairs," Ms. Cofer said.

First, she wanted the fair to focus on education.

"I feel that with education about a particular problem, one will not fear the problem and will seek medical attention earlier," she said.

But she also wanted people to learn more about personal safety.

"We will be presenting information on such things as personal safety while traveling, terrorism, fire prevention and recognizing con artists," she said. "The AARP 55 Alive Program' will be explained, and if there is interest, a class will be formed."

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 east side of the school.

This event is without an 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.

"As you can see, even though you may not be interested in being tested, you will enjoy the educational exhibits," said Ms. Cofer. "And, someone will win $100 in a drawing by having visited the educational booths."

Web posted on Thursday, May 25, 2006

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