Living the healthy lifestyle

Apr. 15, 2014 @ 09:39 PM

WARRENTON — A large crowd braved threatening weather on Tuesday to visit the N.C. Farm Bureau mobile screening unit parked at the Warren County Health Department.

“Healthy Living for a Lifetime” was displayed on the side of the mobile unit. In deference to the overcast skies, a large tent covered the area where people waited.

After registering, a person entered the mobile screening unit and was directed to any of four screening stations.

Shaundre Bryson, a nurse screener, staffed one of those stations. She checked the individual’s blood pressure and took a blood sample to assess glucose and cholesterol.

At a final station, the individual’s lung function was checked. Health screener Malinda Pace said results could show a loss of function due to conditions such as asthma or a history of smoking.

Each person was given a printout of results of the screenings.

“Our staff will counsel them,” said Adam Tesh, the program director for the N.C. Farm Bureau.

He emphasized the screenings are not intended to provide a definitive diagnosis but are a first step in identifying potential health threats. Recipients of the screening reports are encouraged to share them with their primary health care provider.

Many of the people participating in the screening were of middle age or above. Lack of health insurance appeared not to be the reason the majority were there.

Tori Tomlinson, president and CEO of U.S. Wellness which provided the screeners for the project, said the service is free to anyone, regardless of whether they have health insurance.

Elizabeth Jiggetts, 65, has Medicare coverage. Like many of those being screened on Tuesday, she had no specific concerns. She thought being screened was a wise precaution. Her results showed no problems.

“Looks good,” she said.

Charles Worth, 65, is a reserve worker for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He also has Medicare coverage. He said he has no known health issues but came for the screenings as a precaution.

“I’m trying to keep it in check,” Worth said.

Another gentleman who chose not to be identified said he came because his wife pressured him. He said his results looked fine.

Among the younger individuals receiving screening were Jasmine Foster, 18, and Dwane Hargrove, 17, both students at Warren County High School. Foster said her visit to the screening unit was a class field trip.

Hargrove said he came to see how things are and was pleased with the results shown on his printout.

“Everything is fine,” he said. “Not over. Not under.”

“This is the third year we’ve been doing this,” said Larry Wooten, president of the N.C. Farm Bureau. “This is our 77th screening, the second in Warren County.” He said the screening program is built on partnerships. Farm Bureau and the local health department collaborate on arrangements.

“We contract with U.S. Wellness for personnel to conduct the screenings. We have literally saved lives,” Wooten said. “We’ve found people with aneurisms and with hypertension at the stroke level.”

Like many life-threatening conditions, those conditions may not show obvious symptoms.

To acknowledge the role of Farm Bureau in promoting better health, Mary Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council, presented the “Frontiers in Wellness” award to Wooten and the N.C. Farm Bureau.

Many chronic diseases are preventable, Grealy said. They can be reduced by early diagnosis, early intervention, healthful lifestyles and better access to care. “We applaud you for what you are doing.”

A number of local officials were present, as was U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield. He described the role of congressional committees he serves in crafting the law that became the Affordable Care Act. He said health care costs can be reduced through efforts such as the Farm Bureau screening program.

Wooten pointed out that Farm Bureau’s role does not end with the screening. Farm Bureau provides financial assistance to individuals who don’t have insurance, he said.

“We’ve provided more than $250,000 — a quarter of a million dollars — over the past three years to help people get health services,” Wooten said.

 

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.