We offer the Nhs health check programme which aims to help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia. Everyone between the ages of 40 and 74, who has not already been diagnosed with one of these conditions or have certain risk factors, is eligible (once every five years) to have a check to assess their risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes and will be given support and advice to help them reduce or manage that risk. (take a look below at the NHS health Check leaflet)
This involves measuring:
Cholesterol and Blood sugar levels (This is done via a tiny fingerprick sample of your blood) and a measurement of your height, weight and waist circumference and entering the following risk factors
- Age (20-79)
- Sex (M/F)
- Smoking (Y/N)
- Blood Pressure
to give an estimate of your cardiovascular risk in the next 10 years based on the Framingham study.
Your printout shows your 10 year risk %. For example a 33% absolute risk of a heart attack represents a 1 in 3 chance of suffering a heart attack in the next 10 years. Younger people (less than 45 years) should aim for a 10 year risk of less than 5%, and older people should aim for a 10 year risk of less than 10%.
Key modifiable risk factors for heart disease
Cigarette Smoking – Smoking is the number one cause of preventable deaths, increasing your risk of heart attack by 3-fold. Smoking lowers HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol) and increases blood pressure. We can help you to stop smoking.
Body Mass Index – Obesity is usually expressed as body mass index (BMI) – derived by dividing weight (in kg) by the subject’s height (in metres) squared. An ideal BMI is considered to be between 20-25. Losing weight if your BMI is above recommended can help raise your HDL and lower your LDL.
Exercise – There are two types of physical fitness – aerobic and anaerobic, and it is the former that is linked to the reduction of heart attack risk. Aerobic fitness relates to endurance or the ability to exercise for more than 30 minutes non-stop. Good examples are brisk walking, jogging, cycling or swimming.
Diet – A regular intake of fresh fruit and vegetables has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease. Five portions of fresh fruit or vegetables per day have been recommended by the DoH. The Mediterranean diet, low in saturated fats, high in mono-unsaturated fat (eg olive oil), fruit and vegetables, wine and oily fish results in low heart attack risk.
Alcohol – A moderate intake of alcohol each day has been found to reduce the risk of heart attacks. For women it is recommended to be 1-2 units per day and for men 2-3 units per day, any more and the benefits are lost.
Other risk factors for heart disease
Family History – If there is a family history of premature heart attack, like for example a father/brother aged less than 55 or mother/sister aged less than 65 having a heart attack, then the Framingham Study has indicated that the risk is increased by about 50%. You can markedly reduce the risk by reducing the other risk factors like smoking, weight, high blood pressure etc .
Diabetes – High blood sugar has serious long term complications. Type 2 diabetes is the most common, and is often linked to older age groups and obesity. Other risk factors common in the diabetic are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and low ‘good’ HDL. Normal, non-fasting glucose levels should be in the range 4-8 mmol/L. A non-fasting glucose above 11mmol/L could indicate diabetes and should be re-tested after fasting.
Raised Blood Pressure – High blood pressure is usually not associated with symptoms but is often linked to other risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high blood cholesterol and low ‘good’ HDL. When blood pressure is measured, the higher number is referred to as the systolic (SBP) reading and the lower number the diastolic (DBP) reading. A desirable blood pressure is less than 135/85mmHg .
Free Blood pressure monitoring – We offer a free walk-in blood pressure monitoring service. One of our healthcare assistants will take your reading, which will then be followed by a consultation by one of our pharmacists.More information on NHS Health Check