Free bone density screenings offered

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FARMINGTON —  Free bone-density and blood-pressure screenings are offered during May in honor of the National Women’s Wellness Campaign by the Healthy Community Coalition.

Registered nurse Jennifer McCormack will use the Achilles Express ultrasonometer to perform the osteoporosis screening that involves placing a bare heel in the ultrasound machine.

“Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass, which causes a decrease in bone strength and much of the damage is done before symptoms appear,” McCormack said. “Each screening takes approximately 10 minutes and no appointment is necessary. The bone density test results will be given to each person screened so she can discuss results with her medical provider.”

In addition to the screening, breast care, nutrition and physical activity will be discussed at the time of the test. Staff will also be offering free assistance to women for scheduling mammogram and provider appointments, as well as assistance for enrollment in the free mammogram program, the Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program.

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Every woman who schedules a mammogram and/or enrolls in the Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program during these events will receive a free gift. Gifts include summer pajamas, flip flops, tank tops, sports bras and more.

The schedule of screenings is as follows: 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, at Wilton Masonic Lodge; noon–2 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, Jay Hannaford; 10:30–11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 12, Livermore Falls Terrace; 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, Eustis Town Office; 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Friday, May 20, Rangeley Town House Apartments; 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, Salem Economic Ministry; and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Tuesday, May 31, Phillips Camden National Bank.

“Women reach their peak bone mass around age 30. Following menopause, women suffer a more rapid bone loss due to decreased production of the hormone estrogen,” McCormack said. “To keep our bones strong is a process that must occur throughout the lifespan, such as: eating a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D; doing weight-bearing and strength-training exercises; and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol use.”

Risk factors for osteoporosis include: being female (women have thinner, lighter bones); growing older; estrogen deficiency (due to surgery, menopause or any other cause); family history of osteoporosis; low body weight and small boned frame; smoking; race (Caucasian and Asian women are at a higher risk); excessive alcohol or caffeine intake; a diet low in calcium and vitamin D; certain medication use such as steroids; and physical inactivity.

For more information, contact Jennifer McCormack at the Healthy Community Coalition at 779-2926 or jmccormack@fchn.org.

The Healthy Community Coalition is a comprehensive, community-based health promotion, education, outreach and prevention organization serving Greater Franklin County.

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