Checks can win battle with killer

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THE war against Wigan’s biggest killer is being won according to health chiefs – but they are urging everybody to help themselves and get checked.

Thanks to the Find and Treat Cardiovascular Screening programme, more and more Wiganers are being screened for potentially fatal diseases such as heart disease.

Cardiovascular Diseases are the biggest cause of ill health premature deaths in Wigan and thanks to the innovative programme which aims to screen everybody between the ages of 40 and 74, health chiefs hope they will continue to see people living longer.

The Director of Public Health for Wigan Dr Kate Ardern said: “We now have nearly every GP practice in the borough involved with the scheme which means if you are between 40 and 74 you will be sent an invitation to come and be checked over, which I advise everybody to take up. We are also taking the programme out into the workplace as some people, particularly men, are not always forthcoming in going to their GP.

“So far we have been out to Hindley and seen great success in screening and the message is simple – there are plenty of people out there with high cholesterol and high blood pressure, but if we catch it early a few simple changes to your lifestyle can help change the onset of more serious conditions such as heart disease.”

A report into the Find and Treat Cardiovascular Screening programme revealed that since November 2010, 17,075 patients have been screened across the borough.

The latest report on the Find and Treat Programme, showing performance till the end of March 2011 presented to the newly formed NHS Ashton Leigh and Wigan PCT Locality Board, revealed that 255 cases of Coronary Heart Disease (1.5 per cent of those screened) have been detected since the programme was introduced, along with 1483 cases of high blood pressure (8.6 per cent of those screened) and 3970 cases of high cholesterol (23 per cent of those screened).

Dr Ardern added: “Find and Treat benefits individuals who can escape illness in the future or even premature death and it saves the health system money as if we can catch signs early, we inevitably save money on operations. The thing with CVDs and Chronic Kidney Disease, which we also screen for, is that many people do not know they have them and it doesn’t always require surgery or tablets if caught early.”

For more information on Find and Treat contact your GP.