Screenings Defined

By: Porter Regional Hospital Last Updated: August 11, 2011

HeartFrom the Summer 2011 Healthy Woman publication

Screenings can act as your personal red flag, signaling a need to follow up with your physician for diagnosis and treatment. This advance warning can be life changing- even lifesaving. "Screenings do save lives...I have seen it," said Steve Beach, RN, Community Wellness Educator. Here are some of Porter's leading community screenings, defined.

Porter's cholesterol screenings include a check of both your total cholesterol/HDL and blood sugar. It's important to know these numbers because elevated levels can put you at a higher risk for heart attack or stroke. High cholesterol is also very treatable, leading to better overall health. In general, patients should strive for a total cholesterol level less than 200. Porter's cholesterol screening recommends that you fast for 12 hours, but it is not required. As with the blood sugar screening, a small amount of blood will be drawn from the tip of the finger and the results will be ready within five minutes. Cholesterol screenings are free. Check for screening times and locations.

Bone Density
A bone density screening can show low bone mass, revealing your risk for bone-threatening osteoporosis. Osteoporosis most commonly strikes post-menopausal women, but can also be a threat for younger women and for men. In fact, osteoporosis affects 50 percent of women over 45 and 90 percent of women over 75. Porter's bone density screening is done on the heel of the bare foot, using a sonometer. Scores are available within seconds, providing post-menopausal women with a T-score and younger patients with a Z-score. Low scores may indicate low bone density, which should be addressed with a physician for more detailed testing and treatment. Porter's bone density screenings are free and don't require an appointment. Check for screening times and locations.

Visit the Porter Health System website
Valparaiso Campus
814 LaPorte Avenue
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Phone: 219-263-4600

Blood Sugar
Blood sugar screenings can reveal elevated glucose in the blood, signaling diabetes or prediabetes. Without proper treatment, diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, renal failure, damage to the retinas, and other problems. Porter offers both fasting and non-fasting blood sugar screenings. Each screening involves taking a small amount of blood from the tip of the finger and provides results in about three seconds. A normal result depends on when you last ate. For a fasting blood sugar screen, normal is considered 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL); or less than 140 mg/dL if you've eaten in the last two hours. To prepare for a fasting blood sugar test, you should avoid eating or drinking for eight hours prior to the screening- not even coffee or tea, though water is fine. If your levels are not within the normal range, Porter will encourage you to see your physician for diagnosis and treatment and will follow up with you by mail. Porter's blood sugar screenings are free and don't require an appointment. Check for screening times and locations.