By Greg Yee

gyee@daily-times.com

FARMINGTON —San Juan County Medical Center plans to provide low cost blood screenings for adults on Oct. 17.

Hospital staff hopes residents will take advantage of the event and make an investment in their long-term health.

"It gives the opportunity for early intervention," said medical center laboratory manager Denise McCracken.

This year's screening adds a combined hemoglobin and hematocrit test, which is used to help diagnose conditions that affect red blood cells, such as anemia.

Among the other tests are a comprehensive metabolic panel for $15, a lipid profile for $10, a thyroid profile for $10 and a prostate screening for $10. The hemoglobin and hematocrit tests are $10.

Although the tests are for people on low or fixed incomes, they may used by others with high-deductible health insurance policies, said Dr. Scott Otteson, a pathologist at the medical center.

He stressed, however, that these tests do not provide a comprehensive picture of your health.

"This should not replace a visit to a primary care physician," he said. "The point is to provide these tests to people that are interested at low cost."

These tests, rather, provide some tools to detect abnormalities associated with specific diseases. For example, the lipid profile test estimates total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides.

Results of this test can assist in determining if a person needs further medical attention.

Those who wish to take advantage of the blood screenings are asked to fast for 12 hours before the test to ensure accuracy. Drinking water is permitted.

Tests are available to adults18 and older from 6 to 9 a.m. Oct. 17 at San Juan College's Henderson Fine Arts building room 9006. Results will be mailed within two weeks.

The San Juan Regional Medical Center staff does all the testing.

For more information, call 505-609-6449.