FISHERSVILLE — Instead of crafts, food vendors and door prizes, a fair held on Wednesday will offer individual health screenings with blood pressure checks, sleep assessments and stroke assessments.

The Augusta Health Annual Heart Health Fair will be from 7 to 10 a.m., and will also offer carotid artery ultrasound, pulmonary function tests and fasting blood glucose tests.

“It’s an opportunity for people to receive free screenings that they may not otherwise be able to receive,” said Catherine Raines, health educator with Augusta Health, “and just learn more about heart health and to learn if they are at risk for high blood pressure or diabetes or any form of heart disease. I think it’s a very important event.”

Raines said that carotid artery ultrasounds and pulmonary function testing are the most in-demand screenings offered at the annual fair, so reservations are required by calling (540) 245-7910, but all other testing is available without registering on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are all ready filled for Wednesday, but participants can be put on a waiting list.

Cholesterol lipid panels will also be available for $10 per person, but all other testing and screening will be free. 

The fair has been held for at least 10 years at Augusta Health.

A lot of people look forward to coming to the annual fair, according to Raines. Last year, Raines said, 120 attended, and this year, Augusta Health is anticipating 150 participants.

“It’s very important for the public to understand their blood pressure, and how important it can play in their risk of having a stroke,” said Amy Markham, stroke program coordinator and a nurse at Augusta Health, “and, especially, if they had a history of having a stroke in their family.”

The more factors an individual demonstrates, such as high blood pressure, an immediate family member who has had a stroke, and irregular heart beat or atrial fibrillation, the higher their risk for stroke.

However, risk factors are not the only indicator for stroke risk.

“Anybody is at risk for having a stroke,” Markham said.

Statistics show that one in six Americans will have a stroke in their lifetime.

“The big thing is just to raise awareness of their risk factors, how they can prevent [having a stroke],” Markham said. “Eighty percent of strokes actually are preventable. They just have to make sure they are watching their diet, taking their medication.”

Augusta Health’s Heart Health fair is beneficial for raising that awareness.

“Hopefully, [the fair will] open their eyes, raise awareness of where they stand as far as their risk for stroke,” Markham said.

On Wednesday, Markham will help with testing participants, while Raines will help with behind-the-scenes organization, as well as making sure supplies are ready for testing.

Raines said she will ensure samples from the cholesterol lipid panels get to the laboratory for testing. Participants can expect the results of their panel testing the following week in the mail.

Participants should come Wednesday morning prepared to roll up their sleeves. If coming for a blood glucose test, participants are asked to fast from food and drink except water for at least eight hours prior to testing “to get more accurate results for that test,” Raines said.

The health fair will be held in the Fitness Building, and participants are asked to park behind the fitness center.

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