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Fitzgibbon Health Fair Offers Opportunity to Know Your Numbers

April 15, 2016

Fitzgibbon Hospital has conducted a health fair in Marshall for more than 26 years. The 2016 Health Fair will be held from 7 to 11 a.m. on Friday, April 22, in the Fitzgibbon Hospital atrium.

For many years, the mainstay of the health fair has been the availability of low-cost blood tests that provide feedback into some very important areas of health. New this year, the hospital will offer the hemoglobin A1C test, which has not been offered in previous years. With the prevalence of obesity and diabetes in Saline County, Fitzgibbon Hospital saw the opportunity to provide the hemoglobin A1C test as part of its mission to “improve the health of our community.”

“This year we will offer the hemoglobin A1C test, which gives us an average of an individual’s blood sugar levels over the course of two to three months. This test is an important first step in the diagnosis of diabetes,” said Joy Bailey, MT, ASCP and Lab Manager for Fitzgibbon Hospital.

According to the National Institutes of Health, hemoglobin A1C tests are useful, not only for the screening of diabetes, but for doctors to see how well you are managing your diabetes. Doctors usually recommend the hemoglobin A1C blood test every three to six months as part of a diabetes treatment plan.

Left untreated, diabetes can lead to eye disease, heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and even stroke, so spending a few minutes receiving the low-cost blood test can be important to you and your loved ones. Results of the test will be made available the following week on the secure, internet-based self-service “MyHealth Patient Portal.” Results can be downloaded or transmitted to your physician of choice.

The cost of the hemoglobin A1C test will be just $10 without any doctor office co-pays or insurance deductibles, which makes it a great option for individuals looking to renew their focus on their health. Other tests will be available at the Health Fair at a discounted cost, include the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Complete Metabolic Profile (CMP), Lipid Profile (LIPID) and Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test. All of these tests can be conducted with one draw of blood, which takes just a few minutes.

TSH tests the function of the thyroid. Abnormalities with the test indicate either hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid.) Symptoms for hypothyroidism include unexplained fluctuations in weight, persistent fatigue, muscle cramps, increased sensitivity to cold, menstrual irregularities and depression. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include unexplained fluctuations in weight, persistent fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, irritability and tremors in hands and fingers among other symptoms. The cost for the TSH is just $20 at this year’s health fair. If you are only receiving this test, you do not need to fast beforehand, as is required by other tests. If you plan to undergo the complete battery of testing, then fasting is necessary.

The Complete Metabolic Panel test measures the fluid balance in your body along with the function of you kidneys and liver. This test also will measure your blood sugar at the time of the test, which is useful for daily monitoring of diabetes. Certain medications and conditions can impair the proper function of the liver and kidneys, which can lead to significant long-term health conditions. The CMP test, which is paired with the Lipid Profile costs just $15. To receive an accurate reading, individuals must not eat or drink for 10-12 hours prior to the test.

The Lipid Profile measures an individual’s cholesterol levels including HDL, LDL and Triglycerides. Having an accurate measurement of HDL, or “good,” and LDL “bad” cholesterol is the first step to help doctors diagnose heart disease or other risk factors that can lead to heart attack or stroke. With the higher amount of fried foods found in many Midwestern households, knowing your cholesterol levels before a significant health crisis occurs can be a call to action to make lifestyle choices or seek treatment for high cholesterol. The Lipid Profile is included in the CMP exam for $15 total.

Finally, the PSA test is recommended for men over 50 years of age or younger if a father, brother or son has ever had prostate cancer. The PSA test measures the levels of prostate-specific antigen, a protein that is produced by the prostate. Men with prostate cancer often develop an elevated level of PSA in their blood. There are also benign or harmless conditions, however, that can also affect PSA levels. An elevated PSA level may mean your doctor will want to conduct further testing to rule out prostate cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, according to the American Cancer Society. The PSA test is costs just $20 at this year’s health fair. Fasting is not required to receive this test.

The tests included in this year’s health fair are very important to consider, and with the absence of doctor office co-pays or insurance deductibles, this is a great time to make your health a priority this spring. If a man receives each of the offered tests, the total cost will be $65. Total cost for a woman receiving all tests offered is just $45.

Once you receive your lab results via the MyHealth Patient Portal in the week following the Health Fair, you can download and print them for your family practice physician. If you do not have a family practice physician, the caring physicians at Marshall Family Practice are taking new patients. Simply call (660)886-7800 to schedule an appointment.