by Lindsay Losasso
One evening last week, more than 50 local residents joined Abriendo Mentes for a health fair that was held in the Salon Comúnal of Potrero. The fair, which was free and open to the public, featured various tables with health information and several health screenings. Participants were warmly greeted and given a Health Passport, to record their health measurements for the evening, as well as a raffle ticket for a chance to win a big, delicious bag of local fruits.
After checking in, visitors lined up anxiously to have their blood pressure taken by Patty, a visiting nurse, or have their finger pricked for a glucose test by our volunteer Marla, who works in patient care at a hospital in Texas. The next station was with volunteers Emily and Gina, who measured height, weight, and waist circumference to determine Body Mass Index and any additional health risks associated with obesity. Participants also received information about our weekly community zumba and yoga classes, stress management techniques, and free dental supplies. We were also fortunate enough to be joined by the Red Cross of Cartagena, who gave a presentation on the basics of First Aid to a group of children and their parents.
Through the health screenings, several participants were found to have abnormally high blood pressure or blood glucose readings, and after some counseling by the nurse, were instructed to immediately follow up with their doctor. In some cases, the person had not been previously diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension and was learning for the first time that they may have a problem. While it is unfortunate that these illnesses are so prevalent in our community, we are hopeful that early detection and treatment will prevent unnecessary complications and additional health problems in the future.
AM would like to extend our sincerest thanks to nurse Patty Robleto for helping to organize the event and for her health expertise, as well as the Red Cross of Cartagena for their time and information.