Diabetes and stroke risk tests at pharmacies in Wales

Published on Monday, 03 September 2012 09:20
Posted by Scott Buckler

Diabetes UK Cymru has joined forces with the Stoke Association, Public Health Wales, Community Pharmacy Wales and all seven health boards to launch a major public health campaign in September

Its bold aim is to find the one in ten people in Wales who are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or having a stroke. Free risk assessments will be on offer at every single pharmacy outlet in the country – at total of 714 chemists.

The One in Ten campaign runs for two weeks from Sept 3.

"It's really important that people know their risks – 11,000 people have a stroke every year in Wales," said Ana Palazon, director of the Stroke Association in Wales. "Many strokes can be prevented. Once you know you are at risk, there are plenty of things that you can do to lower your chances of having a stroke, such as changing your diet, giving up smoking and cutting down your drinking."

Dai Williams, director of Diabetes UK Cymru, said: "There are an estimated 350,000 people in Wales unaware that they run a high risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. If this campaign can find even a fraction of those people, it will be worthwhile because like stroke, diabetes is heavily related to lifestyle. If you know your risk, you can take steps for a healthier future."

"Having a stroke or diabetes is not an inevitable part of getting older," said Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, chair of Public Health Wales. "Because the conditions share many of the same risk factors and having diabetes can dramatically increase the risk of stroke, it makes perfect sense to run this groundbreaking joint campaign."

Russell Goodway, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy Wales, said "Community pharmacies are ideally placed to take public health messages to the 50,000 people a day who visit their local pharmacy, whether they are well or ill. We are particularly pleased that by including stroke as well as diabetes in this national public health campaign, it enables the advantages of the community pharmacy network to assist with delivery of Key Actions in the Programme for Government in 'using health checks to identify health problems earlier', in 'preventing poor health' and in improving outcomes for patients with stroke as a chronic condition."

Community pharmacies are open 6, and often 7, days a week and are located in high streets, villages and town and city centres throughout Wales. Pharmacies are open and providing NHS services, including public health advice, outside the hours of GPs surgeries.

Last year, in a pharmacy campaign that focused solely on diabetes, 17,500 people were assessed. 8.4 per cent were of high risk of developing the condition and 24 per cent at increased risk.

The risk assessments will be offered in pharmacies and take just a few minutes. Depending on the results, people at risk will either be given referral letters to their GPs or advised to mention their status to their doctor. All comers will be given information on how to reduce their risk of stroke and diabetes. People unable to attend their local pharmacy can carry out a diabetes risk assessment online

Source: ©Diabetes UK

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