The city’s health division on Tuesday launched a new program to combat chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes through screening and prevention.
“We will be screening for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure — and these are all targeted at preventing chronic diseases,” said Thakur “Paul” Persaud, director of the city’s division of health which is inside the city’s department of health and human services.
Persaud said there are individuals with high blood pressure that are unaware they are even suffering from the condition. He said the city’s three phase program will begin with screening residents at risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. During that phase risk factors will be identified like poor diet, overweight, obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and lack of physical activity.
The second phase involves augmenting the first phase and screening for blood sugar and cholesterol. And the third and final phase will target medical care and treatment for those who require it.
Persaud provided an example of a person suffering from prehypertension. “Based on public health intervention, we can slow that process down, and what that does is it gives them years of disease free life,” said Persaud. “So it will improve the quality of your life.”
Chronic diseases have been characterized as the public health challenge of the 21st century, said mayor Jose “Joey” Torres in a statement. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates 60-percent of all deaths in the world result from chronic diseases.
Seven of the top ten causes of death in the United States has to do with chronic diseases, Persaud said.
Persaud said premature death is common among people suffering from chronic diseases whose impact can be mitigated through preventative measures.
The division director said this is the first time the city launched such a program. He said other municipalities throughout the country have similar programs. The program is also open to neighboring contracted communities of Totowa, Woodland Park, Haledon, North Haledon, Hawthorne, and Prospect Park.
“Our goal is to make the Paterson division of health the best municipal public health provider in the State of New Jersey,” said Persaud.
“We hope this prevention program is a promising start in promoting a culture of wellness in our city,” said Torres.
City residents as well as residents from the aforementioned towns can contact the city’s division of health at (973) 321-1277 from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.