Hospital to offer free blood sugar tests, blood pressure checks and sun safety information at Waukon Corn Days

Veterans Memorial Hospital will be offering free blood sugar testing with immediate results at the Waukon Corn Days celebration Friday, August 18. The tests will be performed by Teresa Myers, RN, Certified Diabetes Educator, in the Veterans Memorial Hospital first aid tent located in the Waukon State Bank parking lot, from 4:30-8 p.m.

Community and Home Care staff members Annette Davis, RN and Joan Fish, CNA will also be providing free blood pressure checks during the same time. Veterans Memorial Hospital staff will also have educational materials on sun safety and handing out skin safe samples of sunscreen in the first aid tent.

First aid supplies will also be available for anyone in need.

Since the national guidelines continue to change, lowering the blood sugar’s normal range, Veterans Memorial Hospital feels it is very important to reach out to the community to continue to offer these screenings to try to catch anyone with a borderline or high blood sugar as early as possible.

“The sooner an individual realizes he or she has a higher than normal blood sugar, the sooner they can start to make appropriate changes in their lifestyle to gain control of their blood sugar and ward off the complications of diabetes,” states Teresa Myers, RN, Diabetes Coordinator at Veterans Memorial Hospital. “An estimated 16 million people in the United States have diabetes and only about half of these people know they have it. We want to do everything we can to catch and treat individuals with borderline or high blood sugar before it goes untreated.”

The symptoms of diabetes include a lack of energy, increased hunger, frequent urination and excessive thirst, blurred vision, loss of feeling in hands and toes, frequent, slow-healing infections and weight loss.

It is being suggested that adults age 45 and older be tested for diabetes and if the blood sugar is normal at the first test, they should be tested at three-year intervals. People under age 45 should be tested yearly if they are at high risk for diabetes. Risk factors include:

· Being more than 20 percent above ideal body weight.
· Having a first-degree relative with diabetes (mother, father or sibling.)
· Being a member of a high-risk ethnic group (African American, Hispanic, Asian or Native American.)
· Delivering a baby weighing more than nine pounds or having diabetes during a pregnancy.
· Having blood pressure at or above 140/90.
· Having abnormal blood fat levels, such as high-density lipoproteins (HDL) less than or equal to 35 mg/dl or triglycerides greater than or equal to 250 mg/dl.
· Having impaired glucose tolerance when previously tested for diabetes.

Diabetes is found through a simple finger poke blood sugar screening. Everyone who does register a higher than normal blood sugar will have their results sent by the hospital to their local family practice physician or physician assistant for follow-up.

Diabetes can lead to serious and often life-threatening complications. The common areas of the body that are affected include the eyes, kidneys, nerves and the blood vessels. The eyes can suffer such complications as blurred vision, cataracts, damage to the retina, and blindness. The nerves may experience numbness and tingling sensations, especially in the legs, hands and feet. Diarrhea or constipation, sexual difficulties and loss of bladder control may also be experienced. Blood vessels experience a build up of cholesterol in the arteries, causing possible heart attacks or stroke, blocked veins in the legs, foot ulcers and eventually amputations.

“High blood sugar and diabetes can be successfully controlled through meal planning, weight loss, exercise, monitoring of the blood sugar level and, when needed, even medication,” adds Myers. “We hope this local screening will allow us to help many individuals who have no idea they may have borderline or high blood sugar to make those lifestyle changes now.”

Blood sugar tests will be made available to everyone at Waukon Corn Days, during the hours of 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. free of charge. Each test takes just a couple minutes to complete and they do not require any fasting. Free educational materials on diabetes will also be handed out.

For more information on Diabetes, call Teresa Myers, RN, Diabetes Coordinator, or Angie Mettille, RN, at Veterans Memorial Hospital at 563-568-3411.

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