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After two-year absence, Rotary blood-screening event returns to Detroit Lakes

The Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club's 2022 Community Blood Screening is set for Sept. 20-23 at the Essentia Health St. Mary's EMS building in Detroit Lakes. The event was last held in September 2019.

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DETROIT LAKES — It's been three years since the Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club's last community blood screening clinic was held.

The health-focused event was a 30-year fall tradition in the community, dating back to 1990 — and then a little thing called the COVID-19 pandemic happened. For two years, ongoing public health and safety concerns caused the annual blood screening clinic to be put on hold — but no longer.

"It's back!" said Dr. Bill Henke, a retired Detroit Lakes physician who has been involved with the annual event for many years.

The 31st Community Blood Screening event will take place Sept. 20-23 at the Essentia Health St. Mary's EMS Building, 225 Park St., Detroit Lakes. Its purpose is to improve the overall health of the community by providing residents with an opportunity for early intervention in treating medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and other related ailments that can be detected through a simple blood test.

For just $40, any community member can sign up for the blood test on any of the four days of the screening, and have it administered that same morning by a phlebotomist provided by either Sanford Health or Essentia Health St. Mary's, who are once again partnering with the Noon Rotary Club to host the event.

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Many local businesses pay for their employees to get the tests, and some even offer discounts on the employee's health insurance if they do so. Even if the employer doesn't directly fund the screening costs, their health flex account may cover it — and $40 is still quite affordable, as the panel of blood tests it pays for can cost considerably more when administered separately.

“You could spend well over $100 on these tests anywhere else,” said Rotary member Adrienne Buboltz — and they likely wouldn’t all be taken care of in a single screening.

Once the blood samples are taken, each sample is run through a battery of tests for measuring cholesterol (blood lipids), triglycerides (blood fats), high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) as well as glucose (blood sugar), creatinine, hemoglobin (red blood cell) and white blood cell counts, creatinine, ALT and potassium levels in the blood, all of which can provide important information for the early detection and treatment of a variety of diseases.

"A lot of diseases can be quiescent," Henke said — meaning that no overt signs show up until they have reached a critical, less treatable stage.

Without a blood test, a person suffering from a potentially deadly condition like heart disease, diabetes or cancer "could be completely oblivious," he added.

For instance, Henke said, "An estimated 30 million people in the United States have diabetes — and about 25% of them are not diagnosed. A blood test could give you an early heads-up."

When people arrive at the blood screening, they will be asked to complete a consent and release form, which will allow their results to be sent to them electronically, via their MyChart account with either Sanford or Essentia. In the past, blood screening results have been available by mail, but that practice has been discontinued, Buboltz noted. "We're only sending out results electronically this year," she said.

Henke said that those who are planning to participate in the blood screening should restrict food and beverage intake for 10-12 hours before testing, as failure to do so could skew the results of the tests.

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“But you can — and should — drink water and take your medications,” Buboltz added.

After completing the forms and sign-up for a health account (if the person doesn't already have one), each participant will pay the fee (if not prepaid) and have their blood drawn, then relax and enjoy some light refreshments to help counteract the effects of the blood loss before heading back home or to work.

Once they receive their results, Henke said, each person should follow up with their primary care physician, or health care team.

If you go

What: Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club Community Blood Screening

When: Tuesday through Friday, Sept. 20-23. Screening hours are 7-9:30 a.m. daily, with doors opening at 6:45 a.m.

Where: Essentia Health EMS building, 225 Park St., Detroit Lakes.

How much: Cost is $40 per person. Those who do not have cash on hand for the screening can write a check to the Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club to cover the cost. There is no preregistration required.

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