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Heart attacks, strokes prevented through health checks-ups

Washington: A study led by Queen Mary University of London has revealed that health check-up programmes may prevent heart attacks, strokes or death from these causes in its first five years.

According to researchers, the NHS Health Check program in England may have prevented an estimated 4,600 to 8,400 heart attacks, strokes or death from these causes in its first five years.

“Those who attended NHS Health Checks were substantially more likely to be found with a diagnosis of a new disease, including hypertension, diabetes and chronic kidney disease,” said lead study author Dr John Robson.

“We saw a 30 to 80 percent increase in the number of disease cases found, compared to those who did not attend, and 40 per cent more people were prescribed Statins, so these are very substantial gains in public health terms,” Robson added.

The programme, which has in the past been considered ‘controversial’, led to an increase in diagnoses of 30 percent for diabetes, 50 percent for hypertension and 80 percent for chronic kidney disease, and 40 percent more Statins were prescribed, but researchers say there is still room for improvement for treating those at higher risk.

This programme was to tackle prevention of heart attacks and strokes by offering a free check to every adult aged 40-74 years and offers professional advice on lifestyle changes and treatments, including Statins, to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

This study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, looked at the first five years in three London areas — City and Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham.

The study found, in England, with 1.5 million attendees annually, this additional Statin use could prevent an estimated 4600 to 8400 heart attacks, strokes, or death from these causes in five years as a result of attending an NHS Health Check.

Treatment of hypertension, diabetes, and kidney disease would add further reductions in cardiovascular events.

The coverage of 85 percent of eligible people found in this local study compares with around 50 percent nationally, indicating that better coverage is achievable in England.

Highest coverage and treatment were associated with efforts to target those at highest risk. (ANI)