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'I just kind of blew it off...'


Life Line Screening visit at library detected major health issues



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At right, Jim Gibson practices karate moves as part of a lifestyle change following a life-saving health screening. Photo by Patrick McAbee. (click for larger version)
November 02, 2011 - Jim Gibson was having difficulty walking and what he describes as "heaviness" in his legs.

The General Motors retiree saw an orthopedic doctor who told him he had flat feet and wrote him a prescription for inserts, but it didn't work. The problem worsened, and he saw commercials for peripheral artery disease, but because of a high health insurance deductible ($7,000 per year), he put off going to a cardiologist.

"I just kind of blew it off," he said. "I had some issues, but I figured, I'm getting older, I've got arthritis, it's not a big deal. But it was a big deal."

In December 2010, he learned Life Line Screening, a mobile health screening service, was coming to the Brandon Township Library in January. With encouragement from wife Marianna, Jim went to the convenient screening, which, at a $60 charge, was cheaper than a doctor visit. The decision would save his life.

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At the Life Line Screening, simple tests were conducted on Jim, including blood pressure readings from both his arms, which were compared with blood pressure readings at his ankles. Two weeks later, the results were in— Jim Gibson's test was abnormal and he was advised to see a doctor immediately.

He went to a doctor who had recently performed carotid artery surgery on a friend's wife. He gave to the doctor his Life Line Screening results and ultrasounds were subsequently performed.

"They found very bad blockages in my legs and in my neck," said Jim. "The doctor said, 'I don't know how you're alive, that's how blocked you are.'"

Jim had surgery on his legs April 13. Five days later he had a quadruple bypass and in June, doctors unblocked the carotid artery in his neck.

"This could save someone from disastrous effects," said Jim of the screening.

According to lifelinescreening.com, the mission of the for-profit organization is to "make people aware of unrecognized health problems and encourage them to seek follow-up care with their personal physician. We are the leading provider of community-based preventive health screenings in the United States. We use advanced ultrasound equipment, the same as the equipment found in hospitals, and our screenings are performed by highly trained healthcare professionals. Results are reviewed by board-certified physicians to ensure the highest standards."

"Since our inception in 1993, we have screened over 6 million people, and currently screen over 1 million people each year at over 20,000 screening events nationwide. Through this experience, we often identify serious health issues and have helped save thousands of lives. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality preventive screenings at affordable rates."

"It's not a hoax and so convenient," said Marianna. "We didn't have to wait, in there in 10 minutes and done, and got the results in e-mail."

Marianna and Jim Gibson, both 60, quit smoking in April.

"It puts the fear of God in ya," said Jim. "We're not bad eaters. Now I take karate lessons. It'll change your priorities in a hurry."

Life Line Screening is visiting the area this month. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 30, the mobile health screening provider will be at the American Legion Post, 130 E. Drahner Road, Oxford. For more information call 800-449-2350 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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