Health screenings, courtesy of the Lions

Health screenings, courtesy of the Lions
LEWISTON - The big story around the country is health care reform. Town meetings are rowdy and sometimes disrupted by opponents of change.

It's obvious President Obama has a real fight on his hands.

But the first step in getting or staying healthy is prevention of disease and catching problems before they get worse. The Northwest Lions Foundation was in Lewiston offering a free service to help the public find out what areas may be of concern.

"We're doing blood pressure, we're doing blood sugar checks, we're also doing glaucoma checks, visual screening and hearing screening," said Jeanne Laws, a Lions member and registered nurse who is helping with the screening. "These are all screening exams so that if someone is potentially having a problem, then we can give them information on pursuing other appointments or having those checked out."

The Lions Club Screening Van (actually a full size semi trailer) was parked at the Lewis Clark Early Childhood Program (LCECP) center Wednesday, focusing on testing kids' vision and hearing. LCECP staff were assisting.

"We like to try to work in cooperation with the schools whenever possible, to kind of ease their burden on the screening that they have to do.," said Laws. "We can help them with that."

Laws said they check blood sugar for adults, a critical test for a nation in the midst of a diabetes crisis.

"We know that there's between seven and eight percent of the public who is walking around with undiagnosed diabetes and one of the services that we offer is a free diabetes check. It is not diagnostic. It's just a screening to see if your blood sugar is in the normal range."

As far as availability of health care, Laws said they do see people who have little access to care and also those who just don't get around to getting checkups.

"A lot of people don't even have a family doctor or can't afford to go in and be checked or don't tend to go in for regular doctor's appointments," Laws said. "So we'd like to have anybody, even if you normally go in once or twice a year, if you'd like to have one of these exams done, we'd like to have as many people as possible stop in."

On Thursday adults and entire families are encouraged to stop by for a quick check.

The health screening is free. You can visit the van at 1816 18th Street from 9-12 and 1-4.

The Lions also help people in need purchase glasses and they collect recycled eyewear.

If you want to get involved and help out with any of their programs, just call 743-5968 or you can visit the web site