Health briefs: Water's Edge Town Center in Bradenton hosts fall prevention health fair

March 11, 2014 

BRADENTON -- The Manatee County Falls Prevention Coalition will host a health fair focused on fall prevention from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 14 at Water's Edge Town Center, 3003 19th St. W., Bradenton.

Falls are the leading cause of injuries for people over age 65 and a third of older adults will experience a fall, according to the health statistics.

Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent falls, including exercise that results in better balance and simple home modifications like installing grab bars and removing throw rugs and other hazards.

The health fair will feature speakers, vendors, a tai chi demonstration and giveaways. Free health screenings will include tests of balance and hearing.

"You have to educate people that there are things to do instead of waiting for the next fall," said Jeanie Brantley, director of community relations at Water's Edge.

The health fair is free. For more information, call 941-748-7797.

Herbal supplements Q&A at library

HOLMES BEACH -- Pharmacy students from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine will talk about herbal supplements and answer questions at 2 p.m. March 13 at the Holmes Beach Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

Herbal supplements are sold over-the-counter but can interact with certain medications or have side effects. If you're taking one, it's a good idea to let your doctor or pharmacist know, but many people don't, said Chris Williams, pharmacy consultant for Manatee County.

"If people aren't telling their doctor or pharmacist about their herbal supplements, no one will know that the medication being prescribed could have interactions," said Williams.

One way that herbal supplements can interfere with prescription drugs is when both have the same mechanism: Supplements that have the ability to act like blood thinners, for instance, shouldn't be taken with medication that prevents blood clots.

A popular herbal supplement that interacts with a variety of medications is St. John's Wort, said Williams. The supplement should be avoided when taking anti-depressants because of its effect on serotonin levels. Together, the anti-depressant and supplement could raise serotonin to potentially dangerous levels.

Herbal supplements also can increase how quickly certain medications are metabolized and make the drugs less effective, said Williams.

The talk is free; bring your herbal supplements and medications to ask about interactions.

Free end-of-life seminar held at USF

SARASOTA -- A free seminar, "Cost Considerations in Caring for Persons with Dementia throughout the End of Life -- What YOU Need to Know," will be presented from 8 a.m. to noon March 14 at the USF Sarasota-Manatee Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

The seminar will feature talks by elder care attorneys about preparing for the costs of care, vital documents that are necessary and other issues that can affect financial security. Other speakers are geriatric social worker and USF professor Kathy Black, and Ladislav Volicer, a professor and researcher who is an internationally known expert on advanced dementia care.

Changes in how people handle their finances can be a clue about dementia,

said Black. Examples are being late on bill payments and writing the wrong amount on checks.

People with dementia also are susceptible to scams and frauds like get-rich-quick schemes, she said. But they often can be sensitive about losing financial independence and resistant to giving a family member power of attorney to make their financial decisions, she said.

The event is free but reservations are required. Register at or call JoAnn at 941-365-0250, Ext. 1114.

Victory Over Stroke symposium is March 20

BRADENTON -- The Stroke Association of Florida is holding its fifth annual Victory Over Stroke symposium from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 20 at Blake Medical Center's H2U location, 6670 Cortez Road W., Bradenton.

The event will feature speakers, vendor displays and free health screenings for stroke risk factors.

The Stroke Association was co-founded five years ago by Holly Dykema after her husband suffered a massive stroke in 2009. Since then, Dykema and others from the association have given community awareness and education presentations throughout Bradenton and Sarasota. They emphasize the importance of immediate emergency care if a warning sign occurs.

In the five years of giving talks, Dykema said, the association has been waiting for the day that someone would write a letter to say how information from one of their presentations saved a life.

That first letter came in January when a man wrote to say that he had attended a Stroke Association talk at his community center and how he was saved from a devastating stroke because of what he learned.

"He said he went over to the magnet on the refrigerator and gave it to his wife who called 911," said Dykema. By having emergency treatment in the window of time when damaging effects of stroke can be prevented, he avoided devastating side effects.

Health screenings at the symposium include carotid artery ultrasounds and fasting blood tests for glucose and cholesterol levels. Advance appointments are needed for the carotid artery screenings and pre-registration for the event is required. Call 1-888-359-3552.

Susan Hemmingway, Herald health correspondent, can be reached at

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