NHS One You teams are busy this March with a series of special events across Kent, providing free on-the-spot Health Checks and health ‘MOTs’ in local venues including high streets and shopping centres.
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust’s One You advisors are teaming up with Wellbeing People this month to offer Health Checks in Gravesend, Maidstone, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and the Isle of Sheppey, following similar events in Thanet and Swale earlier this year.
Figures for these areas show that they have some of the county’s highest levels of heart failure and disease. Cancer, heart and lung disease also account for a large percentage of premature deaths (under the age of 75) in these districts while stroke is another major health issue.
Health experts advise that prevention, and spotting and managing the early warning signs such as high blood pressure, is an important part of how we can help people to look after their own health.
While many people will already be receiving treatment from their doctor and local health services, it’s feared others may be unaware of potential health issues.
If you are aged 40 to 74-years-old and with no relevant pre-existing conditions, you can sign up for a free NHS Health Check for advice on keeping yourself healthy and active. Your blood pressure, height and weight will be checked. You will be given a small finger prick test to check your blood cholesterol and you’ll also be asked some questions about your lifestyle and family history. The check will identify the risk of you developing heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes or dementia in the future.
Mark Cummings, One You Locality Manager for Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) said: “We know that some people don’t like to go to the GP, so our One You Roadshows are helping people across Kent to get a free NHS Health Check in a convenient location; or some simple lifestyle advice to support them to make the change to a healthier lifestyle. We’re really grateful to all of our venues for hosting us this month – particularly Morrison’s who have been especially helpful.”
Health Checks are led by KCHFT and commissioned by Kent County Council. Andrew Scott-Clark, KCC’s Director of Public Health, said: “There are many people suffering from debilitating conditions and reaching the end of their life prematurely which is a tragedy as many of these conditions and premature deaths can be prevented through simple lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, reducing how much alcohol you drink and increasing physical activity.”
He added: “High blood pressure and high cholesterol often cause no symptoms whatsoever, so unless you have a check you won’t know you have them. High blood pressure can trigger an irregular heartbeat which increases the risk of a stroke. If you know that you are at risk, there are services that can help you to get on the right track and small changes to your lifestyle can really help to lower these issues, and you’ll feel fitter and healthier too.”
For advice about small changes you can make to improve your health and wellbeing, and find more support in your area regarding your lifestyle, see www.oneyoukent.org.uk You can also sign up for a Health Check at that website or call 0300 123 1220 (option 4) to find a clinic near you.
For more information on the Health Checks events, check out KCC’s Facebook page or the One You Kent Facebook page.