Free health services today

Organizers are expecting about 1,000 people at today's 9Health Fair.

The annual 9Health Fair, sponsored by Yampa Valley Medical Center, is from 8 to 11a.m. at Steamboat Springs Middle School.

The program has been held annually throughout Colorado communities since 1979. About 75,000 people participated throughout Colorado two years ago, said Christine McKelvie, YVMC director of public relations. It's the largest program of its type in the nation, she said.

Organizers rely on about 150 volunteers to make the event possible. A lot of those volunteers are employed in medical or health fields. The fair is free and available to all adults.

McKelvie said the fair is a good opportunity for people who are new to the area or are on a budget to get basic tests done.

"Every year, we have a number of people who come in to the health fair for the first time," she said.

Colorectal cancer test kits will be available for $5, along with $30 blood chemistry tests, $25 prostate specific antigen tests for men and $15 blood counts. The fair is a good opportunity to get tested, but McKelvie said people should discuss the results with their caregivers.

Information about a variety of health services will be at the fair. Free health services that will be available include checking height, weight, vision, hearing, blood pressure, lung function, balance, oral and foot health.

Members of the YVMC Ethics Committee will be available to help people prepare living wills or advance directives. The legal documents allow people to issue guidance for medical treatment they want to receive if they become incapacitated.

"It's such a great idea to do, and people with experience will be there to help," McKelvie said.

She also encourages younger people to make decisions about how they want to be treated if something were to happen.

An addition to this year's fair is a cardio risk assessment that analyzes people's lifestyles.

"It gives you a little glimpse as to whether you have a low risk for cardiac problems or a high risk," McKelvie said.

Health fairs also will be held from 7 a.m. to noon April 8 at Kremmling's West Grand High School and from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. April 28 at Craig's Sunset Elementary School.

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