9Health Fair returns to Vail Valley on Saturday, May 5, with free screenings, low-cost blood tests | VailDaily.com

9Health Fair returns to Vail Valley on Saturday, May 5, with free screenings, low-cost blood tests

GYPSUM — Springtime in Eagle County means it's time to transition from skis to bikes, haul out the deck furniture and head to the 9Health Fair for annual low-cost blood work and free health screenings.

This year's event is planned Saturday, May 5, at Gypsum Creek Middle School. Longtime fairgoers should take note of the location change. For a number of years, Eagle Valley High School has been the fair venue, but construction activities convinced local organizers to switch the location.

"We don't want a bunch of people to go to the same place they have for years," said Wayne Nelson, of the Eagle Lions Club, longtime local sponsor for the fair. Nelson does, however, want people to take advantage of all that the fair has to offer. "It's still the best deal in town — a $35 blood test compared to a $300 charge if you go to your doctor's office," Nelson said.

For that reason, a number of insurance companies and local employers will cover the cost for 9Health Fair blood work, he noted.

Traditionally, the fair draws between 600 and 800 participants and close to 100 volunteers. For anyone planning to attend the fair, Nelson offered a bit of advice. The line for registration and blood work is long when the doors first open, but by 10 a.m., fairgoers can usually walk right up for the blood draw.

In years past, fasting requirements prompted lots of early attendees. Fasting is no longer required, but some participants may still elect to avoid food or drink before heading to the fair.

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"If you don't fast it will affect your glucose and triglycerides numbers," Nelson said.

Fair options

There will be eight blood-screening options offered at the 9Health Fair:

• Blood chemistry ($35): Provides information on your blood glucose, cholesterol, electrolytes, liver, kidneys, thyroids and more. This screening can help you and your health-care provider monitor and identify health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. Pair with Hemoglobin A1c for a complete diabetes screening. Drink plenty of water. Current research shows fasting is optional (may affect glucose and triglycerides). Continue to take medications.

• Hemoglobin A1C diabetes screening ($20): Measures your average blood-sugar control for the past two to three months. Screens for diabetes/pre-diabetes, or used to follow existing diabetes treatment. Pair with blood chemistry for a complete diabetes screening.

• Blood-cell count ($25): Measures white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Screens for your body's ability to fight infection, some clotting disorders and cancers.

• Vitamin D ($50): Provides baseline Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is important to bone health and may affect other vital body functions. Pair with blood chemistry for information on your calcium levels, which play an important role in bone health.

• PSA for Men ($35): Measures a protein produced by the prostate gland. After discussion with your health-care provider, this screening may be recommended for individuals age 69 or younger, or those with a family history of prostate cancer.

• Testosterone (male) screening ($40): Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day. Levels are best represented when the screening is performed in the morning. Low testosterone levels in males can affect energy levels, mood and cognitive function, sexual desire, bone and muscle mass and fat distribution. Low testosterone levels can be caused by many conditions. If out of range, then seek further evaluation to screen for other underlying issues such as sleep apnea, depression, opiate and other drug use, liver disease, thyroid disorders and others.

• Testosterone (female) screening ($40): Consider this screening if you are concerned by excess facial and body hair, acne and/or irregular menstrual cycles. Low testosterone levels in females often do not indicate a problem or require treatment or supplementation.

• Colon cancer take-home kit ($30): This take-home, mail-in kit checks for blood in the stool, screens for colon cancer and colon polyps, and may indicate hemorrhoids or colon inflammation.

The 9Health Fair also offers more than 20 free screenings such as oral, blood pressure, height/weight/BMI, foot, vision, skin, osteoporosis, eye, mental health, hearing, lung function, cardio risk assessments and more.

After blood work results are completed, the 9Health Fair provides follow-up calls within 72 hours by doctors and registered nurses to people with serious health issues. For all participants, the 9Health Fair mails personal laboratory reports to participants.

No Social Security numbers or personal identification are required to participate in the 9Health Fair screenings. Credit card payments will be accepted on site at Gypsum Creek Middle School.

If you go …

What: 9Health Fair.

When: 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 5.

Where: Gypsum Creek Middle School, 401 Grundel Way, Gypsum.

More information: Register on site the day of the fair or online at http://www.9healthfair.org.