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Price hospital hosts informational health fair

Amy Ruggeri of Price and Margaret Colosimo also of Price demonstrate the blood pressure and heart rate tests given at the health fair.
Gluten free foods are a must for those who battle celiac disease.

Sun Advocate community editor

The Carbon County community was treated to free medical screenings on Tuesday at Castleview Hospital's annual health fair.

Attendees had the opportunity to have blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen level checked along with the added bonus of free flu shots, body fat analysis, skin cancer checks and mammogram tests.

One pressing issues addressed at the informational activity was the need for influenza vaccination.

According to information presented at the hospital, anyone can get influenza - a viral disease that can cause serious health problems.

While rates of infection differ and the illness lasts for a few days in most people, the flu can cause; fever, sore throat, chills, fatigue, cough, headache and muscle aches.

However, some individuals become much sicker, pointed out the Castleview staff. Influenza can lead to pneumonia and be dangerous for people with heart or breathing conditions.

The illness can cause high fever, diarrhea and seizures in children.

On average, 226,000 people are hospitalized every year because of influenza and 36,000 of the patients die, mostly the elderly.

At Castleview, the officials were administering the inactivated vaccine that was delivered by injection into the muscle.

An annual vaccination is recommended because the Influenza virus mutates from year to year causing scientists to fine tune each year's vaccination.

Flu shots are recommended for most individuals but especially for children from 6 months of age to 18 and anyone over the age of 50.

For additional information on the influenza vaccination, local residents may contact the Price hospital.

A second major topic discussed at the event was celiac disease.

CD is a genetic digestive disorder that damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food, according to health fair literature.

Persons with CD cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and possibly oats.

When people eat foods that contain gluten, their immune systems respond by damaging the small intestine.

Specifically, tiny finger-like protrusions called villi on the lining of the small intestine are lost.

Nutrients from food are absorbed into the blood stream through the villi.

Without villi, a person becomes malnourished regardless of the quantity of food consumed.

Because the immune system causes the damage, CD is considered an auto-immune disorder.

Celiac can also be considered a disease of mal-absorption as nutrients are not absorbed.

CD affects patients differently. Some people develop symptoms as children, some as adults.

One factor theorized to play a role in the disease, according to fair information, is the amount of time an individual was breast fed.

"The longer a person was breast fed, the later symptoms of CD appear and the more atypical are the symptoms," pointed out the informational pamphlet. "Other factors include the age a person with CD began eating gluten."

According to health providers at the fair, the disease is trying as affected individuals must constantly monitor their diets.

Patients are essentially unable to eat anything that does not provide consumers with all ingredient information.

Symptoms of celiac disease include: •Chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain.

•Irritability and/or depression and behavior changes associated with eating.

•Weight loss and delayed growth along with unexplained anemia

• Bone pain, muscle cramps and pain in the joints.

•Pale, foul smelling stool, gas and missed menstrual periods.

•Pale, painful sores in the mouth, tooth discoloration or loss of enamel.

Diagnosing can be difficult, as CD's symptoms are so closely related to other diseases, such as Crohn's Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Recently, researchers have discovered that persons with CD have higher-than-normal levels of certain antibodies.

If the tests and symptoms suggest CD, a biopsy of the small intestine will be performed to evaluate damage to the villi.

Gluten free food can be difficult to find and those seeking further information can also contact Castleview about CD, Influenza Vaccination or any other health problem discussed at the health fair.

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