Get proactive with your health

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - A group of Region 8 health professionals are working to get the people they serve healthy.

Arkansas Methodist Medical Center hosted its 20th annual Men's Health Fair on Thursday.

Director of the Foundation and Marketing at AMMC, Shay Willis, said they hold this event free to the public every year in the hopes they encourage men to get ahead of any potential health issues.

"This is just one service we can do," Willis said. "As a nonprofit organization and a healthcare provider to the people in the communities we serve. We want men to come and learn. To be proactive about their health and to learn instead of being reactive."

Willis said they have a wide variety of informational booths and health screens available.

"One of the things we've done for years is lab draw," Willis said. "Drawing blood to test for glucose, cholesterol and for the men we draw enough that we can check their Prostate Specific Antigen or PSA to see if they're at risk of prostate cancer. Something that we've done the last couple of years is a vascular screening and this year we were also able to bring back the prostate cancer exam. There are also a lot of screenings being done in the auditorium. We had someone doing a vision screening and a chiropractor. So, there are a lot of things here at no cost."

Paragould resident James Ness said this was the first time he had ever attended the Men's Health Fair.

"I think it's amazing," Ness said. "All the stuff they've got here. Just helping people. It's pretty amazing. I've learned a lot of things. They've got that brain out front that we walked through. It was pretty neat. I learned about Alzheimer's and dementia. I didn't know exactly what that was. Now, I do."

One of the informational booths was an enormous brain filled with information, brought to the health fair by representatives from UAMS.

"This is our Mega Brain," registered nurse with UAMS Suzanne White said. "We travel all over the state, using it to educate the public. Mostly on the signs and symptoms of stroke. But there's also a lot of information inside the brain, around the brain about different disorders you can have. Also, Alzheimer's and aneurysm information so it's good information for the public."

White said education is the key to getting help early on, which is why they use the Mega Brain as an educational tool.

"A lot of it is people are unaware," White said. "A lot of times they also ignore it. They think they're just tired and they'll go lay down and rest. And then, they wake up from their nap and they symptoms are actually worse and it's too late to treat them."

White said you should learn and share the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

"The signs and symptoms of stroke we remember with an acronym, BEFAST," White said. "B stands for balance. Any sudden change or difficulty with balance. The E stands for eyes. Any sudden onset of vision disturbances or trouble seeing. F stands for facial weakness. It can be an uneven smile. A stands for arm weakness. Your arm could be numb or tingling or it could just not work. The S stands for speech. Any speech difficulties, slurred, garbled or absent speech. The T stands for time. The reason we put time in there is because we want people to know to call 911 and get to the nearest hospital immediately."

White said Arkansas ranks six in the nation for stroke deaths.

"Know the symptoms," White said. "Know the symptoms and teach anyone you love the symptoms. Because Arkansas, particularly with stroke, we are number six in the nation with stroke death currently. We're getting better all the time. Most of it is for raised awareness, but also the treatment is available for most areas of the state now. So, we need people to recognize the symptoms and know treatment is available."

"I would recommend other people coming up here," Ness said. "You can get blood tested if you've got prostate problems. Any kind of blood thing, it's very helpful. They've got all kinds of things here. Chiropractor, getting your eyes checked. It's very helpful."

349 people attended the Men's Health Fair.

The Women's Health Fair at AMMC will take place in October.

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