Fort Loudoun Medical Center will be offering free health screenings and blood work at heavily discounted prices next week in an effort to promote healthy living in Loudon County.
Though the local hospital participates at other health fairs in the county, which are typically in Loudon, marketing coordinator Ashley Hankla said Tuesday's event is geared to a different set of residents.
"We had poor attendance in the past, so I'm trying to make sure that we reach out to this side of the bridge," Hankla said.
The spring health fair will be held 8:30-11 a.m. Tuesday in the Family Life Center Building C at First Baptist Church in Lenoir City.
Besides being at least 18 years old, there are no restrictions or requirements to attend the fair. Participants don't even have to be residents of Loudon County. Hankla hopes 100 people will utilize the available services.
"I hope we have a good turnout and it helps folks get on track to start getting healthy. This is just the first step to taking care of your health," Hankla said.
Stressing the importance of regular checkups, Hankla said there will be free blood pressure, body composition, carotid artery and other free screenings available.
The free tests can be key in finding potential health risks.
"That's what we push: what are your numbers? Get them under control. Just because you had it done last year, you need to get it done every year, especially if you have issues or you're on medications or that sort of thing," Hankla said.
A carotid artery screening, which is an ultrasound of the arteries in the neck, can help identify the possibility of a stroke.
"It tells if you're at risk for a bunch of different things. You hear about people who had a blood clot and they ended up having a stroke, that sort of thing," Hankla said. "Then, of course, if your results showed up, if you were at high risk, like sometimes we had people sent immediately to the ER, like you need to get more testing done kind of thing."
Pre-colon cancer screening kits will be available for $2, and Fort Loudoun's physical therapy department will also be on hand for free balance testing.
"A lot of people feel like they have vertigo or they feel like they have different things going on. This is a good screening to determine, 'Hey, maybe you should follow up on this and do exercises or that sort of thing,' and sometimes they do the brake pedal reaction test where they have the brake pedals and you sit in the chair just like you're in your car," Hankla said. "It can tell you how quickly you react when you're driving because people don't think about it, but those are things you might need to be referred to a physical therapist for."
Body mass index will also be measured as part of a promotion for Covenant Health's bodyWORKS program, a heavily discounted exercise class available to Loudon County senior citizens. Senior Cardio is offered 9-10 a.m. Mondays and Thursdays at the Loudon County Senior Center for $3 per class for anyone younger than 50. Those 50 years or older, Covenant Health employees and members of host churches are charged $2 a class.
Though the health fair will offer a plethora of free screenings, Hankla expects discounted blood work will be the fair's biggest draw.
"... It is drastically reduced from what you would pay at the physician's office. Your complete blood chemistry profile can be done for $20. That tests all cholesterol levels and blood glucose. Those are the most important things," she said, stressing the hospital recommends 10-12 hours of fasting for accurate results.
"You can drink a little bit of water. Drink water because if you're dehydrated we're not going to be able to draw blood from you," Hankla said. "You're not getting your fingers pricked. It's a more thorough testing that you'll have done."
A complete blood count is $15 and a prostate specific antigen, a prescreening for prostate cancer, is $20.
"There has been a lot of studies about this right now. They feel like the blood test is not really a good indicator. It's definitely a good precursor to catch it, but more people are relying on just a blood screening and they're not going to the exam," Hankla said.
Blood work for high sensitivity hormone is $20, hemoglobin is $20 and thyroid stimulating hormone is $20. Once results are returned, Hankla said Fort Loudoun physicians will be available to discuss the next step for healthy living.
"The point is trying to get them to get it done. So many people just don't do that," Hankla said. "They need to know their numbers and be educated about them."
For more information on Tuesday's health fair, call 541-4500 or visit http://www.covenanthealth.com