Thursday, May 15, 2008

Barton health check up

april tahoe mt. news unedited

By Kathryn Reed

Being called fat is not something I’m accustomed to. I had a hissy fit.
To show them I went and got a large fry with a side of ranch dressing. Honestly.
That fateful February day was my own doing. I had signed up for the free medical checkup through Barton Memorial Hospital. It started well.
Cindy in Occupational Health told me I have the ears of a young child. I hear a tad better out of my left ear than my right. No obvious reason since I put the phone to my left ear when I’m not wearing a headset.
I have a sheet I can use to chart my hearing (loss?) through the years. Cindy says a hearing test is something to be done every year.
From the hospital I drove to Barton University where the rest of the checks were administered. Sue took my weight, asked for my height and age and then hooked up a device to test my body composition.
What looks like a credit card receipt printout tells me my body fat, body mass index, estimates how much of my body is water, how much of my weight is fat, how much is essential fat, reserve fat and excess fat.
“Excess Fat causes health risks such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. These risks can be minimized by diet and exercise,” the form says.
I have excess fat. I jumped to the conclusion this means I’m fat. I have 3 pounds of excess fat. The form says “risky” under the 3 pounds.
Amazingly, my blood pressure is not elevated at the next station. Susan also checks my pulse, the percentage of oxygen I’m using (97) and my temperature (97.9).
She says all the numbers are good.
Next up is Jacqueline. This is my first EKG. Electrodes are stuck on me. The reading is to make sure my heart is operating like it should. She says all looks OK, but someone else will read the results and my doctor gets a copy. She does this for everyone.
Barton is offering a series of free checkups on a quarterly basis. About the only limitation is space. The 70 spots filled up fast for the Feb. 22 event. The number allowed depends on what is offered.
“It’s a community service. The testing is for some pretty serious conditions,” said Denise Sloan, Barton spokeswoman. Ideally abnormalities will be caught before they become life threatening – which is also a more expensive stage.
To schedule each of the five to six screenings per quarter would cost a minimum of $500 – assuming a person doesn’t have health insurance.
The May 9 checkup will include skin cancer, varicose vein and spider vein screenings, along with orthopedic and physical therapy sessions. Drs. Leonard Holmgren, Michael Nussdorfer and Stephen Bannar will be on hand.
With September being National Vascular Disease Awareness Month, the Sept. 19 event will check carotid arteries via ultrasound, test for peripheral arterial disease and focus on AAA (abdominal, aorta, aneurism).
The Nov. 21 session centers on November being National Diabetes Month and Radiological Technology Week. Dr. Michael Sullivan will do sleep disorder screening. Diabetes screenings will also be offered.
For more information or to signup, call (530) 543-5537 or go to

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