Not fond of a needle prick, Morna Lawrence makes a face as nursing student Shanique Ayres checks her blood during free health checks on World Kidney Day Thursday at the Cayman Islands Hospital. - Photo: Jewel Levy

Residents took advantage of free health screenings at the Cayman Islands Hospital Thursday, designated as World Kidney Day.

The event was hosted by the hospital’s Dialysis Unit and supported by student nurses from the University College Cayman Islands.

Attendees underwent checks for weight, high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They also had an opportunity to talk with a nutritionist who helped them identify if they were at risk of kidney disease and who gave them tips for adopting preventive behaviors to reduce their risk levels.

One of the attendees, Morna Lawrence, said, “My pressure was good, my pulse was great, my cholesterol was fine, my [blood] sugar was just right.”

She added, “It’s a good way to keep a check on your body, which may look good on the outside, but keep in touch with your checks to be sure.”

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Dialysis Unit Nurse Manager Erlin McLeod said such checks help identify key indicators of individuals who are at risk of chronic kidney disease.

“It’s an opportunity for everyone who cannot afford to come to the hospital for checks,” she said. “During the screenings we can detect persons who have high levels in these areas and have them referred to a doctor on site for further checks.”

During Thursday morning, the student nurses encountered one individual whose blood sugar level was extremely high. They sent the person directly to see a doctor at the general practice clinic, Ms. McLeod said.

“This is why it’s important to have it done,” she said. “We ensure that everyone is checked and is aware of how these checks can help. Sometimes persons don’t acknowledge that they have high blood pressure, sugar problems or any other kinds of ailments. Today they have the opportunity to do so.”

World Kidney Day is a global awareness initiative that aims to help prevent kidney conditions, she explained.

Assisting with blood checks, Shanique Ayres, in her final year of nursing school at UCCI, said, “A lot of people don’t know they have a lot of chronic illnesses.

When we have these free health screenings here on island, I think it is very important and it raises awareness on the importance of your health and maintaining health.

“When people come to these kinds of screenings, they become more aware of all of the diseases we have on this island, including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol,” she added.

After residents completed their screenings, they were each given a free sanitizing spray pen.

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