The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth pound of cure,” certainly applies here. Physicians have a better chance of treating many diseases successfully if they can detect them early, so I encourage people to take a proactive role in their well-being by getting routine health screenings.
High blood pressure has no symptoms and can be detected only by a screening. The disease increases the force against artery walls and damages arteries over time. Damaged arteries become less able to deliver blood to the heart and to the brain, thus increasing the chance of congestive heart failure and stroke. By detecting it early, your physician can start you on medication to control blood pressure.
Heart disease sometimes will have no noticeable symptoms until you have a heart attack. An electrocardiogram (EKG) allows a physician to analyze your heart’s overall functioning and detect problems that might lead to a heart attack.
Other measures of heart health require blood tests for levels of cholesterol and other fats and substances. A high level of cholesterol, especially of HDL (“bad cholesterol”), can lead to a buildup of fatty deposits in the coronary arteries. These deposits can block arteries, leading to a heart attack.
Knowing your body fat level can help you plan for adjusting your diet to reduce fat and calorie intake and for starting an exercise regimen.
A simple blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) can help detect prostate cancer, enabling your physician to begin treatment in the cancer’s early stages.
With these conditions in mind, an upcoming health fair at Northern Nevada Medical Center will feature free screenings for blood pressure, body fat, vision, as well as free back pain assessments.
The health fair, scheduled for Saturday morning, also will include additional low-cost screenings:
• Complete blood count: $15
• Lipid profile (cholesterol, triglycerides and HDL/LDL ratio): $20
• Lipid profile with blood chemistry panel: $20
• Heart electrical activity and overall heart function (EKG): $35
• Heart and vascular disease risk (high sensitivity C-reactive protein): $25
• Stroke risk (carotid artery ultrasound screening): $40
• Routine dietary screening for diabetes (glycosylated hemoglobin): $30
• Peripheral artery disease (ankle-brachial index test): $25
• Prostate cancer testing (PSA): $35
I will personally be available at the health fair to answer any medical questions you might have.
Northern Nevada Medical Center also can help you learn about your own health risks at any time with their online risk assessments. Visit http://healthinfo.northernnvmed.com/InteractiveTools/RiskAssessments/.
Saturday’s health screenings will be held from 7:30 to 11 a.m. on the seventh floor of the hospital, located at 2375 E. Prater Way. The health fair will feature screenings for a number of serious conditions.
Dr. Joel Swetish is a doctor of osteopathic medicine with the Northern Nevada Medical Group, located at Vista Medical Terrace at 2345 E. Prater Way. Dr. Swetish graduated in June 2003 from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Mo. Swetish completed an internship and a residency in family practice at Capitol Region Medical Center in Jefferson City, Mo. He practiced previously at Humboldt General Hospital Family Medicine Clinic and Golden Valley Medical Center, both in Winnemucca.
The Northern Nevada Medical Group accepts most of the area’s health plans, including Medicare. To schedule an appointment, call 352-5300.