Residents are being urged to take up the offer of a free NHS health check at their local GP surgery as part of a countywide health campaign.
The “Stay healthy for the ones you love” campaign is aimed at people aged 40 to 74 without a pre-existing condition. The NHS health check looks at circulatory and vascular health and the risk of developing a disabling – but preventable – vascular disease.
If any underlying symptoms are diagnosed, advice and support will be given to help people lower their risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease.
Last year, over 25,000 health checks were carried out in Lancashire and research shows that health checks could save as many as 650 lives each year in England.
Posters featuring images of parents and grandparents with their families will be displayed on billboards, football grounds, in newspapers and magazines, at train stations and in doctors’ surgeries across the county. There will also be a series of radio adverts.
The campaign will encourage people to ask their GP for a free health check and to attend if they are invited for an appointment. If they don’t feel they need to do it for themselves, then they are encouraged to do it for the ones they love.
This year the health check programme will also be out on the road, Wellness International will be setting up “pop up” services in local community centres, to enable as many people as possible to benefit from the NHS health check.
County Coun. Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We know a lot of people are worried about going to the doctor and getting themselves checked out – but most of the time they will not discover anything serious.
“The NHS health check will take less than 20 minutes. It will look at your lifestyle, weight, family medical history, cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
“If the health professional picks up on any factors which could lead to health problems, you’ll be given advice and support to help you lower your risk meaning you’re more likely to enjoy life for longer.
“The checks are a great way to stay fit and healthy for yourself and your loved ones.”
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council, said: “The NHS health check programme was set up to help identify people at increased risk of potentially avoidable health conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
“Major killers such as diabetes, heart, vascular and kidney diseases can be prevented by identifying a patient’s risk factors earlier on in life. High blood pressure, a major cause of strokes, can remain undetected and without any symptoms until it is too late.
“The health check offers people some insight into how likely they are to suffer from things such as a stroke or heart attack and gives them an opportunity to make lifestyle changes to maintain or improve their vascular health and to give them a better quality of life.
“If you are eligible for the NHS health check then I would strongly recommend it. The more people who have an NHS health check then the more lives we can potentially save.”
For more information about the campaign and to find out about booking a NHS Health Check with Wellness International at a community centre near you visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/health