It's been three decades since the Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club first began providing a September blood screening clinic for the community, with assistance from its two local medical clinics, Sanford Health and Essentia Health St. Mary's.

The 30th annual Community Blood Screening is this week, starting Monday, Sept. 9, through Friday, Sept. 13, at the Essentia Health EMS building at 225 Park St.

Though both the venue and format of the screening have changed a bit through the years, its purpose is the same: 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 $25, any community member can sign up for the blood test on any of the five days of the screening, and have it administered that same morning by a phlebotomist provided by either Sanford or Essentia.

"Several of our local employers pay for their employees to get these tests, and there's at least one that offers a discount on the employee's health insurance if they do so," said Adrienne Buboltz, a Noon Rotary member who helps organize the screening each year. "We probably have 10-11 different businesses that do it, and we like to encourage that. It's a great incentive."

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Even if an employer doesn't fund the screening, $25 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,” Buboltz said, 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).

These tests are the primary tools used for early detection of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to Dr. Bill Henke, a local Essentia Health physician who has been involved in the event for several years.

"These two conditions are often intertwined, because of overlapping risk factors," Henke said.

They are also among the leading causes of death, not just here in the United States, but all over the globe, he added — and the number of people afflicted with either, or often both, of these conditions runs well into the millions.

"The statistics are pretty startling," Henke said, noting that about 850,000 people die from cardiovascular disease each year. "It's the No. 1 leading cause of death for both men and women."

Stroke, or the loss of blood flow to the brain, accounts for 140,000 of those annual deaths, Henke said, and it is the leading cause of long-term disability.

As for diabetes, it is one of the leading risk factors for cardiovascular diseases including stroke, arrhythmia and angina. And “diabetes itself kills in a number of ways as well,” Henkes said.

"There are about 30 million U.S. adults living with the disease, and about 84 million who would be considered pre-diabetic," he said.

Though high blood sugar and/or cholesterol levels are not always an indicator that you have one of these diseases, Henke added, they are definitely a warning sign.

“If you are prediabetic, this testing does give you an opportunity to prevent the development of diabetes itself, or at least to slow its progress," he said, through changes in diet and exercise habits, medications, etc.

When people arrive at the blood screening, they will be asked to complete a consent and release form, then choose to receive their results one of two ways: electronically or by mail (or both).

“If you have, or sign up for, an account at either Sanford or Essentia, you can receive your results the next day,” Buboltz said. Results received by mail can take up to three weeks to arrive in your mailbox, she said.

Plus, “once you are in the system, you can register for future screenings by simply providing your name and date of birth,” she added.

Henke noted that those who are planning to participate in the blood screening should restrict food and beverage intake for 10-12 hours before testing.

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

After completing the forms and sign-up for the health account, if required, each person will pay the fee, have their blood drawn, and then relax and enjoy some light refreshments to help counteract the effects of the blood draw. Essentia and Sanford Health staff will also be available to answer questions about diabetes and heart disease prevention, management, and advance care planning.

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: The 30th annual Community Blood Screening

Who: Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club, with assistance from Sanford Health and Essentia Health St. Mary's.

When: Monday through Friday, Sept. 9-13. Screening hours are 7 to 9:30 a.m. daily.

Where: Essentia Health EMS building, 225 Park St.

How much: $25. 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.