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Thousands of people in Cumbria to get free health check
2:11pm Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
THOUSANDS of people in Cumbria are being invited for a free health check at their GP practice over the next five years.
Those invited, aged 40 to 74, will be offered screening for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.
Together, these four conditions are the largest cause of death in the county.
Doctors believe the assessments, which will be available to those not already diagnosed with one of the four conditions, will save lives and cut the number of people affected by these illnesses.
Around 22,000 people will be invited each year as part of a five year rolling programme.
People who have conditions diagnosed as part of the programme will be seen more often.
The programme is aimed at helping to stem the rising tide of lifestyle-related diseases and provide advice and support to those at-risk.
An NHS Cumbria spokesman said the four diseases that the health checks programme is aimed at each affect the body in different ways.
But they are all linked by a common set of risk factors such as diet, smoking, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Dr Rebecca Wagstaff, NHS Cumbria’s Deputy Director of Public Health, said: “The NHS needs to move from a service which people only turn to for treatment into one from which they receive support and advice on reducing their risk of developing serious diseases.
“Everyone is at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes or kidney disease. Often in the early stages, there are very few symptoms and people may not realise anything is wrong. The good news is that these diseases can often be prevented.
“These universal, free health checks will assess people’s risk of developing these conditions and pick-up them up earlier, thereby reducing the chance of them turning into something more serious.
"For example, the longer diabetes and high pressure go undiagnosed the greater the damage to blood vessels and the heart.
"In the meantime, if you're worried about your health, contact your GP in the usual way."