OUR OPINION: Take advantage of free community health screenings

Published 4:00 am Friday, September 1, 2023

Today, the Warren County Health Department, through the Mississippi State Department of Health, will begin offering free blood sugar and blood pressure checks to all members of the community.

It’s no secret that Mississippi is historically a cellar-dweller when it comes to health rankings, but simply stopping by for a short health screening could be the key to changing that statistic. With cardiovascular disease being the number-one cause of death in Mississippi, and the state’s rate of diabetes being one of the worst in the United States, it only makes sense that our community health centers would tackle these problems head-on.

Diabetes is a disease with serious health consequences, but it is also controllable and preventable. According to MSDH, approximately one in seven Mississippians are living with diabetes, placing the state in the top five nationally for diabetes rates.

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The disease can be deadly, or at the very least cause serious health issues including lower extremity amputations, end-stage renal disease, blindness, loss of protective sensation, heart disease and premature death.

The state suffers an estimated burden of $10,400 for each Mississippian diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes-related charges to the state’s Medicaid program alone are close to $1 billion each year.

Cardiovascular disease kills more people in Mississippi than anything else — 8,000 a year to be exact — but it is also preventable. Getting active, eating smart and getting regular checkups go a long way for treatment and prevention, MSDH says.

It all begins with knowing your numbers, be it your blood sugar levels or blood pressure.

When the COVID-19 pandemic panic subsided, State Health Officer Dr. Dan Edney, a Vicksburg resident, said one of his main goals is to raise Mississippi’s health rankings and inspire residents to prioritize health care. After devoting years to pandemic mitigation, the time came to get back to work and save Mississippians in another way.

Stop by the health department today and take a moment to prioritize your health.