ARLINGTON — The Cascade Valley Hospital and Clinics’ third annual Community Health and Safety Fair on Sept. 14 certainly didn’t fail to catch the attention of passersby, given that two of its more prominent exhibits included a giant brain and heart, courtesy of the Pacific Science Center’s “Blood & Guts” exhibit.
While the walk-through inflatable organs from Seattle offered larger-than-life visual representations of the causes of conditions ranging from migraines and seizures to irregular heart rhythms and heart attacks, the majority of the event’s 60 vendors hailed from relatively close by to either Arlington itself, or its surrounding North Snohomish County environs.
“We tried to keep it local, mostly from Arlington, Marysville and Everett,” said Heather Logan, assistant administrator of the Cascade Valley Hospital and Clinics. “At the same time, we wanted to offer attendees an opportunity to see the wide variety of health care resources that are available to them.”
Logan explained that this year marked the debut of the Community Health and Safety Fair at Cascade Valley Hospital itself, since Arlington High School had hosted the event in its previous two years, and she estimated that it had already drawn several hundred attendees halfway through its four-hour running time.
The new venue included an on-site broadcast of “Health Matters” on FOX 1380 AM with radio personality Maury Eskenazi and Amber Walker, Marysville physical therapist and clinic director of the Integrated Rehabilitation Group, who briefly interviewed Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert on the air.
“I’m impressed by the size of this event,” Tolbert said. “I hope a lot of community members are coming out to see all that’s available to them. None of this would happen without the great staff of Cascade Valley.”
Among those who joined the Cascade Valley staff that day were representatives of the Harman Eye Clinic of Arlington, who conducted eye exams, and pharmacists from the Lakewood Costco, who provided flu shots.
Arlington dental surgeon Dr. Alan Erickson was accompanied by an upper-body mannequin modeling a less expensive alternative to the standard sleep apnea monitor.
“Instead of going to a lab or a sleep center to get tested for sleep apnea, this device allows you to get tested in the comfort of your own home,” Erickson said. “You wear it at home when you fall asleep, them we download the data to be examined by a board-certified sleep physician. It clearly shows moments when a patient stops breathing in their sleep, which is dangerous because it desaturates the oxygen levels in their blood.”
As an alternative to more costly and complicated continuous positive airway pressure machines, Erickson likewise offers a dental retainer that forces the mandibles forward to prevent airway blockages during sleep.
Marysville podiatric physician and surgeon Dr. Todd Skiles demonstrated another high-tech simplification of previous diagnosis techniques, with a 3D laser foot scanner.
“The old-school way of getting an orthopedic impression would be to take a plaster cast, but a 3D scan only takes 30 seconds, and scans all the way up to the ankle,” Skiles said. “This way we can send the information to a lab through the Internet, and write prescriptions for callouses, lesions or deformities more quickly, more accurately and with less mess.”
Kathleen Buchanan teaches yoga in Stanwood, Lakewood and Smokey Point, and she demonstrated some poses outside the hospital, while explaining the differences between watching yoga routines on TV versus working with a yoga teacher in person.
“When the instructor isn’t in the room with you, they’re not able to see what you’re doing and say things like, ‘Bring that knee up, push that foot out, activate your quads and glutes,’” Buchanan said. “If you already have a certain level of body awareness from gym training, you can get good stuff out of those shows, but any amount of moving around is better than nothing. You don’t have to be a tall, skinny lady to do yoga,” she laughed.
April Wolanek and LuAnn Zimmerman were also offering advice outdoors, by providing blood pressure checks before attendees went in the front entrance of the hospital.
“Blood pressure is increasing with the increase of obesity in the population,” said Wolanek, an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner with the Cascade Valley Hospital and Clinics. “It’s a silent killer. You don’t necessarily get headaches as a symptom. In fact, by the time many people realize it’s an issue, they’re already at risk of a heart attack or stroke.”
“There’s a lot of denial about it, with people who are on medication forgetting to take it,” said Zimmerman, director of the Cascade Valley Hospital Clinic in Darrington. “They tend to be of the male persuasion.”
“Especially if you’re a strong-willed and independent person, you don’t want to have to work to relearn basic skills after a stroke,” Wolanek said.