The Illinois Public Health Association and National Kidney Foundation of Illinois in partnership with the Memorial Hospital of Chester, the Randolph County Health Department, and Healthy Communities Alliance hosted a kidney and diabetes screening and health fair event for the community on September 19, 2023. The event was held at the American Legion in Chester. Free screenings for kidney disease and diabetes were available, which included a urinalysis, blood pressure, blood sugar and HbA1c check, and body mass index (BMI) measurement. Each participant received a consultation at the end of their screening to review their numbers. Valerie Blechle, Family Nurse Practitioner with Memorial Hospital’s Rural Health Clinics and Rita Boyd, RN, PhD with SIUE School of Nursing, provided the consultations.
Thirty-nine individuals received a health screening with 59% testing in the abnormal range for one or more tests. “These results show how important the KidneyMobile® program is to the Illinois communities we serve,” said Regina White, Senior KidneyMobile® Manager. “We greatly appreciate the partnerships in helping to spread the message of prevention and early detection of chronic kidney disease throughout Illinois. The support of our educational programs displays the community’s dedication to the people they serve and provides increased awareness of the risks associated with untreated high blood pressure and diabetes.”
In the United States, diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure, accounting for 3 out of 4 new cases, according the CDC. Because kidney disease often develops slowly with few symptoms, it can frequently go undetected until it is very advanced. Simple steps such as controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, keeping weight down, exercising regularly, quitting smoking and avoiding excessive use of pain medicine, can help reduce risk. “One in three American adults is at risk for kidney disease, while one in seven already have the disease,” said Jacqueline Burgess-Bishop, Chief Executive Officer of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. “That means hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois are affected. Our goal is to educate the community about the risks for kidney disease and detect it early so that they can manage the disease and slow its progression.” Events like the one held in Chester, help spread awareness of kidney disease and provide a resource for community members to have access to free screening, and catch early signs of problems.
Organizations in attendance for the Health Fair included, the Randolph County Health Department, Memorial Hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging, Surgery and Nursing Departments, the Memorial Community Pharmacy, ComWell, Marion VA Medical Center, Buena Vista National Bank, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois, the Secretary of State’s Office Organ and Tissue Donation Department, Restorix Health with Memorial’s Wound Care Center, and Hoyleton Youth and Family Services Puentes de Esperanza (Bridges of Hope) members who also provided translation services during the event.