Apr 8, 2011 3:05 AM by Dr. Anya Winslow

Sometimes fasting is not a bad thing

Southern Colorado Health Fairs are in full swing, but if you plan on going, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to prepare.

Here's a checklist of what you will need to know before you go:

1. You have to be 18 years or older to participate;

2. If you plan to receive the blood chemistry test, it is recommended that you fast 12 hours prior to having your blood draw, and remember to not drink anything with milk, cream, or sugar;

3. If you are diabetic, you should not fast;

4. If you are currently on medication, continue taking your prescribed medication(s) and;

5. Remember to drink plenty of water.

The importance of fasting lies in the necessity to yield the most accurate results possible.

"When you're fasting, that's the best time to check your sugar levels and your cholesterol levels. So, that we know that it's not food contributing to what's going on," says Lynne Jones of the Colorado Springs Health Partners.

Consuming foods or sugars before screening may lead to elevated readings in blood sugar (glucose), as well as certain fats found in the blood including cholesterol and triglycerides.

Water consumption is essential as it "helps get blood out of you a little faster," says Jones during the drawing process; therefore, drinking plenty of water before your screening is recommended.

New to every fair this year is Vitamin D screening. Among other things, "Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium," adds Jones. Vitamin D is essential in building healthy bones.

You can get vitamin D by eating eggs, fatty fish, as well as drinking or eating certain food products fortified with the vitamin.

If you can only afford one test, Jones recommends receiving the blood chemistry screening because "that's going to get [patients] a full look at what's going on in their body," she says.

It provides health professionals with general information about your health and whether or not you will need further testing to determine if you may have a serious condition or not.

Many types of screenings, both free and some with a minimal charge, will be administered at the health fairs. Additionally, the services being administered at each fair will vary. For a list of fairs near you, as well as what each fair has to offer, click here.

Money, checks, and money orders will be accepted forms of payment.


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