Free screenings focus on African-American men’s health

OSF Saint Anthony Regional Heart Institute and the Black Men’s Healthcare Initiative Coalition are sponsors of the 2004 African-American Men’s Health Fairs to focus attention and resources on improving the health of the African-American men in our community.

Free blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and prostate cancer screenings will be performed by OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center staff. A clinical pharmacist from OSF Saint Anthony will be available to answer medication questions, registered dietitians will discuss diet issues, and cardiac rehabilitation nurses will give information about exercise. Others providing support to the events are the Winnebago County Health Department, Black Nurses’ Association and Dr. Baron Harper, cardiothoracic surgeon.

This year, there will be two days of screenings, education and discounted hair cuts. The first fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 28, at 3T’s Sharper Cuts & Styles, 3417 Auburn St., Rockford. In addition, 3T’s Sharper Cuts & Styles will offer $5 haircuts during the event.

The second African-American Men’s Health Fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 11, at Vern’s Barber Shop, 346 College Ave., Rockford. Vern’s Barber Shop will offer $5 haircuts during the event.

Health facts concerning

African-American men

The prostate cancer death rate is higher for African-American men than for any other racial or ethnic group. In a 2000 study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, African-American men were found to be at nearly twice the risk of prostate cancer compared with white men, even after adjustment for a number of known and suspected prostate cancer risk factors. African-American men have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the U.S.

Studies have found that heart disease death rate among African-American men is 29 percent higher than the rate for white men and 97 percent higher than the rate for Latinos. The federal Centers for Disease Control reports that African-American men experience earlier onset and develop more severe heart disease, as well as have higher rates of complications from treatment than white men. Forty-seven percent of African American men have high cholesterol levels.

Black men develop Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes at a rate 1.5 times greater than white men. And, when black men have diabetes, they’re also much more likely to develop one or more of the serious complications associated with the disease, including amputation, kidney failure, blindness, and cardiovascular disease. For example, African Americans are 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to have a limb amputated than others with diabetes.

Early detection of heart disease, diabetes and prostate cancer is critical to improving treatment outcomes. Education is a key to helping people take more control over their health. These events have been created to help address these health issues.

Pre-registration is recommended. Walk-ins are welcome. To register, please call OSF Saint Anthony Medical at 227-2358.

OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, a Level I Trauma Center, is owned and operated by OSF HealthCare, an affiliate corporation of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, Peoria. The Medical Center’s Web site is

For the second year in a row, in a survey conducted by National Research Corporation, people in Winnebago, Boone and Ogle counties selected OSF Saint Anthony as their first choice for providing quality care, earning the Medical Center the 2002 and the 2003 Consumer Choice Awards.

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