Dr. Kalpana Rajdev hopes the McMinnville Community Health Fair, which was held Saturday at Warren County High School, will become an annual tradition.
Rajdev organized the health fair with the philosophy that health is wealth.
“We want to educate people and let them know what services are out there. For instance, the problem of high blood pressure is a silent problem but it does have an impact on your body,” said Rajdev. “Diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer may not be overtly obvious but can be happening inside your body. The information on the prevention of many diseases is on the Internet and in the library. We want to educate people on preventative factors such as lifestyle, healthy body weight, getting enough rest and less stress which greatly impacts health,”
WCHS junior Jacob Dodd was the youngest presenter at the health fair. Dodd was there to inform people of the 4-H Health Rocks! Initiative, which is a prevention and decision-making program providing health messages. The program educates people how to handle peer pressure, how to manage stress, how to avoid risky behaviors, and how to communicate effectively. Special emphasis is placed on tobacco use prevention.
Cheryl Kelley and Sonjia Walker with Warren County Schools want to educate everyone, especially students, on the dangers of chewing tobacco. The women had models of mouths and what happens to the mouths of people who chew or spit tobacco. Yellow-stained teeth are the least of the possible problems which included rotten teeth, and sores inside the mouth and on the tongue which will lead to mouth and tongue cancer.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, youth who use spit/ chew tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers. Other facts according to the department are spit/ chew tobacco:
• Contains 28 cancer-causing chemicals.
• Is a known cause of cancer and increases the risk of developing cancer of the mouth.
• Is linked to recession of the gums, gum disease and tooth decay.
• Increases the risk for premature birth and low birth weight when used during pregnancy.
• Causes reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm cells in men.
• Can lead to nicotine addiction and dependence.
Health care providers came from as far as Chicago for the event. Alexandria Willis, LPN with the Chicago Health Center, provided information about the three types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
According to the University of Chicago Medicine, based on national statistics:
• One in five people will get a form of skin cancer, the most common malignancy, in their lifetime.
• Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer is diagnosed in 1 in 50 people every year.
• Recent statistics have shown one American dies every hour of melanoma.
• Most skin cancers, including melanoma, have an excellent cure rate if detected early.
Dr. Ramana Chennubhotla came from Louisville, Ky., and provided blood glucose tests and information about diabetes.
Sarah Simons, pharmacy tech with Fred’s Pharmacy handed out information on flu shots and shingles shots. “Many insurances will now pay for the shingles shot. If you ever had chicken pox, you have the shingles virus in your body. You never know if shingles will break out. They can be very painful,” said Simons.
Rajdev said, “Many of the vendors today are using hands-on ways where people can taste, feel and see what happens to the body such as seeing a mouth that has been abused by chewing tobacco, comparing five pounds of fat with five pounds of muscle, and stepping onto a machine to measure body fat.”
Rajdev said she spoke to several high school students and many asked questions following her talk. “They are so curious and they want to learn. Several asked about asthma, wanting to know the causes and how to treat it. Many asked about diseases their parents or grandparents may be experiencing,” she said.
Rajdev and Ginny Emerson, CRNA, provided information about the Isha Care Clinic, a non-profit clinic offering services to people who are uninsured and need care. The clinic is presently operating out of the Harrison Ferry CIC building.
“In the future, we hope to have a freestanding building. We can serve many people with the advancements being made in telemedicine,” said Rajdev. “Specialists from around the world can talk to patients on Harrison Ferry Mountain with only a laptop.”