Sanders County Ledger - Your Best Source For Sanders County News

By Ed Moreth 

CFVH promotes women's health at annual event


October 25, 2018

Ed Moreth

STEPPIN' UP – Lyla Sears of Plains gets screened on the body composition monitor as Aria Mangan of Clark Fork Valley Hospital tells her how to operate the machine at the Women's Health Fair at Plains High School.

Close to 80 people attended the Clark Fork Valley Hospital's annual Women's Health Fair, which took place at Plains High School last Thursday.

"This event is important to the hospital because we want to keep our community members and  communities healthy," said Aria Mangan, the hospital's Community Health Improvement Specialist and chief coordinator of the seven-hour health fair. "One of the best ways to do that is allow the opportunity and education to know what is out there to be healthy and take steps in understanding your health," she added.

Mangan had one of 21 booths at this year's health fair, which is in its third year and for the first time was done at the high school gymnasium. In about 30 seconds using a body composition monitor, Mangan could tell a person their body fat, muscle mass and water percentages, along with their bone mass and metabolic age. "It's a great device," said Mangan, who has had the monitor at the health fair for two years. She liked using the spacious gym and hopes to have future health fairs there.

Most of the booths were from Sanders County, including four from Clark Fork Valley Hospital. Leslie Coates, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, screened people for blood glucose. Coates said that 34 million people in the United States are diabetic and 84 million people are pre-diabetic and half of them don't realize it. Registered Nurse Shelby Zenahlik provided blood pressure checks.

"The hospital and so many of our community partners really strive to have healthy communities and look for ways to present opportunities that promote health and healthy lifestyles, as well as connect our community members with resources in the area they might not know about otherwise," said Mangan. "This event allows for individuals to take advantage of caring for their multiple aspects of health for free and learn about others ways to care for yourself and what else is out there," she added.

Although Jenny Hafner is a registered nurse at the hospital, she had a commercial booth with more than 50 natural support health products ranging from laundry detergent to aromatic oils. She said there are numerous household products that people are unaware of their harmfulness, including some dental floss products, which contain unsafe chemicals.

Not all of the booths were directly related to women's health. The Plainly Speaking Toastmasters Club and the Plains Woman's Club have both participated in the health fair in previous years. Mangan said being part of a group like these is a form of social support and community involvement that helps improve a person's mood, reduces stress and helps keep a person from feeling isolated. Toastmasters club member Lores Porter said that being part of toastmasters can help a person to build confidence when speaking in front of groups, which could lower stress.

There were also organizations from outside Sanders County, such as the Hearing Institute from Missoula, as well as specialists from Superior providing immunity screening. In addition, the Montana Cancer Screening Program, part of the Flathead City-County Health Department, which covers four counties, including Sanders, provided an informational booth this year centered around breast cancer. The booth included a spinning wheel trivia quiz revealing breast cancer facts. Molly Neu said that it is the second most common cancer in women. She said that some 230,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. She noted that some 2,000 men are annually diagnosed with breast cancer, but that a woman is 100 times more susceptible to breast cancer.

"Early detection is really important with breast cancer," said Neu, who added that a healthy diet, exercise and abstinence from tobacco products are key to prevention. She said people had fun with the spinning wheel, saying that around 75 percent answered the questions correctly.

Mental health was also addressed at the fair with representation from Western Montana Mental Health Center, based in Thompson Falls and Plains, and Kate Whipple-Kilmer, a licensed clinical psychologist with Clark Fork Valley Hospital.

Mangan felt the health fair went well. "The health fair also allows us to work at meeting some of our goals in our Implantation Plan developed from our Community Health Needs Assessment," she said.

Although they had fewer people attend than the previous year, she believes it's going to grow. She said the free screening booths were definitely a hit and that some men showed up and got screened. "The health department administered 20 flu vaccinations, which is great, especially since the flu is being reported earlier this year," she added.

The fair participants included people from throughout the county from their teens to their 80s. Most people stayed at the fair between 10 to 45 minutes.

The hospital holds the fair the same time as the hospital offers the annual free mammograms. Seventeen women took part in the free mammograms this year, said Mangan. There are plans to have another fair next year, but instead of being a woman's health fair, it will be a health fair for both genders. Mangan said it will be held in October, but the dates have not been determined.

"I think some women want to bring their husbands or some men want to attend, but the title is off putting, even though it says for men, too. So we are going to just call it a health fair next year," she said.


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