Midlands health notes

March 19, 2013 

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MICHAEL HOGUE — MCT

Alzheimer’s report details scope of disease

More than 80,000 people in South Carolina are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and the number of deaths from the disease has increased by 80 percent since 2000, according to a report from the Alzheimer’s Association.

The annual report draws attention to the needs of people with the disease and their caregivers, and to the importance of research into treatments for the disease.

The report notes that Alzheimer’s was listed as the primary or underlying cause of death on 1,570 death certificates in South Carolina in 2010. Dementia leads to many other life-threatening conditions, which means it contributes to many other deaths.

About 287,000 people act as caregivers for the more than 80,000 people in the state with the disease, providing 327 million hours of unpaid care. The cost for paid care also is enormous, adding up to an estimated $203 billion nationwide, according to the report.

If you are an Alzheimer’s caregiver in need of advice or support, the Alzheimer’s Association offers several alternatives. They have a 24-hour helpline at (800) 272-3900; a social networking site to share questions and make connections at www.alzconnected.org; and an online tool to help evaluate personal needs and action plans at www.alzheimersnavigator.org.

Lexington nears 200 open heart surgeries

The new cardiovascular unit at Lexington Medical Center will have performed nearly 200 open heart surgeries in its first year, surpassing the hospital’s initial goals.

When the unit opened March 28, 2012, hospital officials said they hoped to perform 100 to 150 surgeries in the first year. Lexington Medical Center fought for more than a decade for the right to do open heart surgeries. It eventually led to Providence Hospital reducing its number of open heart units by one to satisfy state regulations designed to prevent spreading medical resources too thinly in regions.

Dr. Jeffrey Travis, who started the program, has been joined by a second heart surgeon, Dr. Steven Marra. The most common types of surgery performed in the first year of the heart program were coronary artery bypass and aortic valve replacement, according to Lexington Medical Center.

Practices earn Community Health Worker grants

Six Midlands primary care practices are among the 16 statewide selected to receive grants to participate in the Community Health Worker program.

The S.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced the grants this month. The Community Health Worker program uses trained and certified community residents to improve patient care and health outcomes in conjunction with physicians. The community health workers build trust and relationships with residents.

The Midlands practices receiving the grants include: Carolina Pediatrics, Columbia; Palmetto Family Medicine Center, Columbia; Lakeview Family Medicine, Lexington; Fairfield Medical Associates, Winnsboro; Kershaw Health Primary Care Clinics, Camden; and Colonial Family Practice, Sumter.

They each will receive a $6,000 grant to cover education and training costs as well as administrative costs for the first year.

Bike ride, run help colon cancer efforts

The Colon Cancer Challenge, which includes a bike ride and an 8K run, is designed to raise awareness and funds for colon cancer screenings for the uninsured.

This year’s event, put together by Lexington Medical Center, is set for Saturday, with bike rides of 65, 50 and 26 miles and the 8K run starting and ending at Dutch Fork High School, 1400 Old Tamah Road in Irmo.

Registration for the bike rides is $40 in advance or $45 the day of the event. The 8K registration is $30 in advance or $35 the day of the event.

Information: www.LMCColonCancerChallenge.com

Health fairs, screenings slated

A free health fair that includes blood pressure, vision cholesterol and body mass index screenings is scheduled for Thursday at the City of Columbia’s Drew Wellness Center.

The health fair, from 4 to 6 p.m., will also include vendors focusing on nutrition counseling, cancer awareness, meal preparation and healthy gardening. Drew Wellness Center is at 2101 Walker Solomon Way, Columbia. For details, call (803) 545-3200.

Another community health fair is scheduled for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday at W.G. Sanders Middle School, 3455 Pine Belt Road, Columbia.

Offerings will include health screenings, immunizations, blood pressure and glucose checks, as well as a variety of informational booths. For information on the Sanders health fair, call (803) 231-7418.

Compiled by Joey Holleman

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