Alaska Health Fair would like to thank Golden Valley Association’s Good Cents Program for their generous contribution to purchase our new GE Healthcare Achilles XPII Bone Density Ultrasound Machine.

The equipment arrived in Fairbanks in early January and had an amazing roll out this past week. We took the machine to the NSCOA Fairbanks Senior Center, the Project Homeless Connect event and the Santa’s Senior Center to provide convenient times and locations for populations who might benefit from this specific screening. Along with a few tests done in our local office, we were able to perform 70 bone density screenings over the past week. People were greatly pleased with the new health offering; plus how simple and fast it was to take the screening. The machine prints out easy to understand results that can be taken to your physician; who can then decide if further testing or treatment is necessary. The screening is aimed at and encouraged for those age 50 and older. There is a questionnaire that helps you to determine risk factors (shown below); keeping in mind that most of these risk factors can be decreased by taking time to establish a healthier lifestyle.

Are you at risk for weak bones?
Check any of these that apply to you.

a) I’m older than 65.
b) I’ve broken a bone after age 50.
c) My close relative has osteoporosis or has broken a bone.
d) My health is “fair” to “poor.”
e) I smoke.
f) I am underweight for my height.
g) I started menopause before age 45.
h) I’ve never gotten enough calcium.
i) I have more than two drinks of alcohol several times a week.
j) I have poor vision, even with glasses.
k) I sometimes fall.
l) I’m not active.

m) I have one of these medical conditions:
· Hyperthyroidism
· Chronic Lung Disease
· Cancer
· Inflammatory Bowel Disease
· Chronic Hepatic or Renal Disease
· Hyperparathyroidism
· Vitamin D Deficiency
· Cushing’s Disease
· Multiple Sclerosis
· Rheumatoid Arthritis

n) I take one of these medicines:
· Oral glucocorticoids (steroids)
· Cancer treatments (radiation, chemotherapy)
· Thyroid medicine
· Antiepileptic medications
· Gonadal hormone suppression
· Immunosuppressive agents

**If you have any of these “red flags,” you could be at high risk for weak bones. Talk to your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care professional.

**Check for this new health screening at your local Alaska Health Fair event in Fairbanks and surrounding areas. The Bone Density screen is currently offered as part of the Tanana Valley and Northern Region Program (based in Fairbanks), and we hope to secure a grant or a donation to make a similar machine available at our other fairs. If you are a company or a foundation and would like to sponsor a machine, please give us a call.