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Biometric Screening 101

It is important for us to take snapshots of our overall current health so that we know when little changes occur before they become a big problem. That is where a biometric screening can be really helpful.

This is a screening you can receive through your employer, union, health organization or various nonprofit groups. The screening can measure height, weight, body mass index (BMI) blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. You may also receive wellness counseling and education, risk assessments and exercise programs when you go in for your biometric screening.

It should be noted a biometric screening should not substitute your regular physical examination as it does not diagnose disease, however, it can be used a supplement to indicate certain risk factors in your overall health.

A biometric screening is a great way to keep track of and alert you to any possible changes in your health such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.

In 2015, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found a correlation to people using a biometric screening and staying on top of filling prescriptions for medications to reduce things such blood pressure, cholesterol and manage depression. Similarly, a 2014 study in New Mexico found that offering free biometric screenings saved future health costs by delaying or preventing chronic diseases.

If you so choose, to go ahead with a biometric screening there are a few things that will be measured. Your vital statistics and blood work are often measured. Some screenings also include a complete blood count as well. Additionally, you will have your height, weight and waist measured—this will go into estimating your BMI score. Your blood pressure, pulse measurement, fasting blood glucose levels and blood cholesterol levels/triglycerides will be measured as well. Some programs will even ask you about tobacco use and exercise habits.

Expect this screening to take about 15-20 minutes to complete and remember, this screening doesn’t include any kind of diagnosis. Just possible risk factors you may have.

Keep in mind a few things before going to have your biometric screening.

Fast for 8-12 hours and don’t drink anything other than water, black coffee or tea before the screening.

Stay hydrated so it is easier to find a vein if blood needs to be drawn.

Dress for comfort and make sure your shirt is at the very least easy to roll up if you are having your blood pressure measured or your blood drawn.

Continue to take your medications as advised by your doctor.

Avoid exercise for 12 hours before your screening.

Most of your results should be available within a few minutes. If any of your blood work is sent to a lab it could take a week or longer.

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