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Sullivan County Health Department offers free check-ups

Leigh Ann Laube • Apr 4, 2013 at 8:19 AM

Often, the earlier a disease is diagnosed, the more likely it is that it can be cured or successfully managed.

That’s why, for 10 years now, the Sullivan County Regional Health Department has offered Free Health Check-Up Days.

"It’s an opportunity for people who don’t have health screenings to get them done free of charge," said Becca Wright, maternal-child health director and assistant director of nursing at the health department. "We encourage health screenings because that’s catching abnormal conditions, often before you’re symptomatic, which leads to an earlier diagnosis and earlier treatment."

Initially, Free Health Check-Up Days were created for women through a grant by the Office of Women’s Health.

"Our first event was just for women, and it was so successful that the following year we decided to have men and offer it for the men," Wright said.

This year’s event is scheduled at the health department’s Kingsport office, 1041 E. Sullivan St., on April 10-11. Free Health Check-Up Day for Women will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, April 10. Free Health Check-Up Day for Men is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday, April 11.

The health department’s main office, 154 Blountville Bypass, will hold the event April 8-9. Free Health Check-Up Day for Women is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, April 8, and Free Health Check-Up Day for Men is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 9.

All services at the Free Health Check-Up Day events are provided at no charge to participants regardless of income or insurance status. No appointment is required.

"Last year, we had 259 participants. Fifty-one percent of them were uninsured; 49 percent either had some type of insurance or TennCare," Wright said. "Total number of screenings was 1,543 different screening tests. We offer 14 different options. Some people have one test done, and some people have everything that’s offered."

Through a collaboration with community partners, free health screenings and education relating to a variety of health issues will be offered. This year’s screenings include blood pressure, breast cancer (women only), glucose, cholesterol, skin cancer, cervical cancer (women only), prostate cancer (men only), and colorectal cancer. Mammogram referrals are free to women between the ages of 35 and 64 who meet eligibility requirements. A nutritionist will be on hand for nutritional counseling, and the basics of CPR (not for certification) will also be taught.

Every year, volunteer staff at the Health Check-Up Days detect abnormalities.

"We found skin cancer last year. We always find some abnormal mammograms. We did find a prostate cancer last year. We find some abnormal clinical breast exams," Wright said. "We find lots of elevated blood pressures, lots of elevated cholesterols."

Participants with abnormal results will be referred to their medical provider or community health resources for further evaluation. For more information about Free Health Check-Up Days, call 279-2777.

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