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Phoebe men's health conference scheduled

ALBANY, Ga. -- "Hypertension: The Silent Killer?" will be the theme of the men's health conference taking place this weekend at Phoebe HealthWorks.

The conference is set to begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the 311 Third Ave. facility.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, has become one of the leading contributing causes of death in the United States, particularly in the South. Officials say it is called the "silent killer" because it often has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people don't realize they have it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web page on hypertension says that high blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for 348,000 Americans in 2009.

Sixty-seven million, or one out of three, American adults have high blood pressure, the CDC says.

The Online Analytical Statistical Information System, or OASIS -- a database maintained by the Georgia Department of Public Health -- says that 63 deaths related to high blood pressure were recorded within the Southwest Public Health District in 2011.

Of the 14 counties in the district, Colquitt had the most deaths with 15 fatalities, followed by Dougherty, which had 14 deaths from hypertension that year, available data from OASIS show.

The conference will begin with registration, health screenings, a continental breakfast and education booths through 10 a.m. Dr. Doug Patten, senior vice president of medical affairs at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, will serve as keynote speaker for the event.

Other speakers include Dr. Derek Heard, Dr. Edward J. Vance and Dr. Devell R. Young, each of whom is slated to give presentations regarding hypertension, how it affects overall health and how it can be managed.

Lunch will be served at noon. Patten is taking the podium at 12:30 p.m., with closing remarks and the presentation of door prizes immediately following.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call (229) 312-7121.