Wellness Screenings Good for the Heart

posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 in General

The first step to improving your health is being aware of your health strengths and weaknesses. While most of us know by stepping on the scale or the fit of our clothes if we need to lose a few pounds, we aren’t always aware if our blood sugar is too high or if our cholesterol is causing dangerous plaque to build in our arteries. Learn more about your health status through a comprehensive wellness screening, offered routinely each month at Spencer Hospital and during the month of February, available each Wednesday, for $50.

“A wellness screening is so quick and easy to do, yet offers a plethora of great information to help people determine what issues they need to concentrate upon to meet their health goals,” explained Joyce Tewes, RN, who routinely conducts the screenings at Spencer Hospital.

Routinely, Comprehensive Wellness Screenings are offered the third Wednesday of each month from 6:30-8:30 AM. During Heart Month in February, a wellness screening can be scheduled any Wednesday morning by calling (712) 264-6636.

The screening takes only a few minutes and includes a height and weight check, blood pressure and pulse check, and laboratory blood test analysis which screens for diabetes, anemia, heart, liver and kidney function. Blood testing analyzes blood sugar, creatinine, cholesterol, triglycerides, hemoglobin, white and red blood cell count, platelets, electrolytes, sodium, potassium, chloride and more. Use of a body composition scale provides information on a person’s body composition and body fat percentage.

“The screening requires 12-hours of fasting prior to provide the most accurate results,” Tewes explained, “which is why we offer the screening appointments first thing in the morning as it’s typically easier to fast overnight.”

Optional screenings include a thyroid test for a $10 fee, a prostate cancer screening for men for a $25 fee, or an at-home colorectal cancer screening kit can be purchased for $5.

Two other screening opportunities which can provide valuable information on heart and vascular health are a Planet Heart screening and a vascular screening. The heart screening involves a health assessment with features a low-dose CT image taken of the heart to check for possible narrowing of the arteries or blockage. The CT image is reviewed by a certified radiologist. A vascular screening involves ultrasound imaging of three areas of the body, the carotid arteries in the neck, the aortic artery in the abdominal to screen for aneurysm and the legs to screen for peripheral artery disease, all conditions which could lead to a stroke.  Each Planet Heart Screening, heart and stroke checks, are $50.

“Both screening opportunities are designed to help identify and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke,” explained Mary Brosnahan, Diagnostic Imaging Director. “Over the years, we have helped identify health risks in a number of patients who had no other symptoms or hadn’t recognized potential symptoms of these major health concerns. By identifying and treating issues prior to a health incident, trauma and heartache have been avoided, which is a very rewarding part of our work.”

A heart screening is recommended for men over age 40 or women over age 45. Vascular screenings are recommended for similar age groups. To schedule a Planet Heart screening or vascular screening, call (712) 264-6181.