Free screening could help uncover problems

Published 10:35 pm Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Data from the Virginia Department of Health has shown that Western Tidewater, which includes Suffolk, has the state’s highest death rate from diabetes.

The most important things are to get tested and get treatment for a disease like diabetes. That can be a tall order for those who are uninsured.

The Obici Healthcare Foundation is trying to help tackle the important issue by providing free diabetes screenings this Saturday at the Town Square Shopping Center on the corner of Constance Road and Pinner Street.


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The blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, hemoglobin and body mass index tests are for folks who are uninsured, without a primary care provider or medical home, between the ages of 18 and 64, and who have not had a health screening in at least the past two years, according to a news release.

The Obici Healthcare Foundation is collaborating with Bon Secours Virginia, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Southeastern Virginia Health System Main Street Physicians, Sentara, Western Tidewater Free Clinic and Western Tidewater Health District.

My family has a history of diabetes, and I am very familiar with the disease’s far-reaching effects. Type 2 diabetes can contribute to many other health problems, including heart disease (heart attack and stroke), amputation and vision problems.

During Saturday’s event, physicians from EVMS and Bon Secours will help interpret test results.

Test subjects will “learn what that number means, and what they can do to improve,” Obici Healthcare Foundation’s Rick Spencer said, and those without a medical home will get information on follow-up care.

Participants will also receive information from the American Diabetes Association, and there will be tips from the American Heart Association on healthy food preparation, from the city of Suffolk’s Parks and Recreation on healthy lifestyles, and from Sentara on free quit-smoking classes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes. Some people with Type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.

The common symptoms of diabetes:

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry — even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss — even though you are eating more (Type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (Type 2)

To pre-register for this event, call 539-8810 and mention the Community Health Screening.