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Women's health fair, fund-raiser planned for Saturday

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Southern Regional Medical Center officials are planning to use money raised during this weekend's "Spring Into Health Living" event to make a positive impact on the health needs of local women.

The combination health fair and fund-raiser will give local residents a chance to learn about their health, and will raise money for a bone-density scanner for the hospital's women's services department.

The annual event will be this Saturday, from 10 a.m., to 3 p.m., at the hospital's Education Center, located at 11 Upper Riverdale Road in Riverdale. Guests will be able to enjoy healthy food prepared by local restaurants, educational seminars, various health screenings, and raffles.

Cynthia Jenkins, director of the Southern Regional Medical Center Foundation, the fund-raising arm of the hospital, said the event was created three years ago by Women Connecting Women, a subcommittee of the foundation. The mission of the event, as well as the subcommittee, she said, is to "educate women and help them make better choices about their health and safety."

"Women are a really important consumer in the health-care business," Jenkins said. "In these busy, multi-tasking times, women usually make the health-care decisions in the household." She said the event will not only allow women to be more informed about their own health, but will allow them to be informed about the health of their families.

Jenkins said during the event, patrons will have the opportunity to learn how to conduct breast self-exams, learn the different warning signs of a heart attack for both men and women, and receive information on stroke and bariatric treatment. This year, however, she said the focus of the event will be on women's bone health.

Jenkins said osteoporosis, a bone disease that decreases bone density, affects 10 million people in the nation, 8 million of whom are women.

"This year, we are focusing on bone health because as women age, they need to make sure that they are exercising and have the proper nutrition to prevent osteoporosis and other bone conditions," Jenkins said. "People are living longer. As you age, you increase your chances of breaking your bones. The proceeds of the event will go toward purchasing bone-density equipment, so we can diagnose various bone deficiencies."

Sheryl Durr, clinical nurse manager at Southern Regional, said treating osteoporosis is a serious concern of the hospital. She said an additional bone-density scanner would allow the hospital to prevent osteoporosis-related injuries in a higher number of patients.

"Osteoporosis is a silent affliction, because it presents itself asymptomatically," Durr said. "The older they are, the less of a chance they have of surviving from a fracture. This is something that is treatable. If you can do bone scanning, you can prevent the fallout."

Durr said the cost of the bone-density scanner the hospital desires to purchase is about $40,000.

Jenkins said even though Saturday's event will focus on women's health, men and children are encouraged to attend. She added that one lucky attendee will win a pair of round-trip ticket to anywhere AirTran Airways flies.

"If a man comes in here and wants to get his blood pressure checked, we will not ignore him," she said. "Any information [the public] can get is critical for us."

Entrance to the event is $15 for adults, $7 for children ages 13 to 17, and free for children under 13. Discounts are available. For more information, call (770) 991-8004.

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On the net:

Southern Regional Health System: www.southernregional.com