Spring is in the air

Dr. Drew Werner

EAGLE COUNTY – March Madness is here, and upsets are the order of the day. There is no event in all of sports I look forward to more. The sheer unpredictability of NCAA playoffs makes watching more an event and less a wait for the inevitable. As March predicts trading skis and boards for bikes and golf clubs it also signals the coming of our local health fairs.Hopefully, your health is as predictable as the coming of spring, and not as uncertain as an NCAA tournament win. That is why going to the health fair is a good time to really tally up your score. Here are some goals for those in good health: total cholesterol less than 200; HDL (high density lipoprotein) more than 45, more than 60 is ideal; LDL (low density cholesterol) less than 130, less than 100 is ideal; triglycerides less than 150; glucose (blood sugar) less than 100; PSA for men less than 4, less than 2 is ideal.With the numbers adding up like a basketball score, the blood chemistry test will also measure liver function, kidney function, electrolytes and more. Continuing on to the post-game festivities, don’t forget to take advantage of the other screening tests available. These may include exams for skin cancer, breast cancer, body mechanics and others. A variety of educational information will be available as well.What other numbers do you need to know?– $30-$35, the cost of the comprehensive blood work.– $25, the cost of the PSA test (for men only). This test screens for prostate cancer. It is recommended yearly for all men over 50 and younger men between 40 and 50 with a strong family history of prostate cancer.– $5, the cost of the take home kit for screening for colorectal cancer. This important test is targeted to people over 50.– 8-12 hours, the number of hours to fast before the comprehensive blood screening to get the most accurate blood sugar and cholesterol results.– 12 ounces, ow much water you should drink when you get up. Remember, water won’t alter your blood tests, so drink as much as you want.– 10, 20 or more, the number of years you could add to our life by health screening, early treatment and prevention of disease.While we all should be thankful that such excellent screening is available, it is important to remember that a blood test isn’t everything. It is simply a start. Regardless of the PSA test, men over 50 should have a DRE, or digital rectal exam. Mammograms and colonoscopy are other important cancer screening tests. If your blood work is ALL normal, congratulations! If there are abnormalities, however, talk to your doctor. Treatment and other laboratory guidelines are constantly changing. That necessitates having a dialogue with your physician to review treatment, discuss next steps in monitoring or getting more advanced diagnostic studies.There are far too many volunteers to name, but please remember to say thanks to all those who have taken out time from their schedules to make it all happen.Locally the health fairs are offered through Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs and the 9Health Fair in Eagle. For those of you who want to come early for your blood tests, only pre-health fair blood draws are available. The details:– Saturday, April 16; 7-11 a.m.; Valley View Professional Office Building; 1830 Blake Ave.; Glenwood Springs.– Saturday, April 23; 7-11 a.m.; Riverside Middle School; 804 W. Main St.; New Castle.– The blood test only pre draw is Saturday, April 2; 7-9 a.m.;Valley View Hospital Cancer Center; 622 19th St., Suite 302; Glenwood Springs.– 9Health Fair on Saturday, April 23; 8-11:30 a.m.; Eagle Valley Middle School; 747 East Third St.; Eagle.For more information visit This excellent site is a great resource for seasonal medical information, as well as general information on Valley View Hospital, one of our nation’s top 100 hospitals and the specialty and primary care physicians there. For specific information on Valley View Hospital’s Health Fair, call 384-6651. More information on the 9Health Fair can be found at a great spring!Dr. Drew Werner of the Eagle Valley Medical Center writes a weekly column for the Daily. He encourages health questions. Write him by e-mail to or c/o Editor, Vail Daily, P.O. Box 81, Vail, 81658.Vail, Colorado

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