Heart health screening
Heart disease is the nation’s single leading cause of death, killing more than 19 000 Australians each year.
Cobram Discount Drug Store is hoping to make a difference by offering free heart health screenings on October 23.
The non-invasive, 15-minute appointments are conducted by qualified pharmacists and assess the patient’s risk of cardiovascular and heart disease, as well as providing tips on how to lower their risk.
Cobram Discount Drug Store manager and pharmacist Dallas Koch said the screenings would involve taking blood pressure, diabetes prick tests, taking the person’s weight and talking to the person about their general health.
It is estimated every 30 minutes an Australian dies from heart disease, which contributed to almost one in four of all deaths recorded in 2016.
Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of Australians aged 30 to 65 have been told they have at least one risk factor linked to heart disease.
Ms Koch said it was important people were on the front foot when it came to their health.
‘‘Blood pressure can be asymptomatic, so you can have somebody walking around with no symptoms whatsoever but have quite high blood pressure and that’s a risk factor for a cardiovascular event,’’ Ms Koch said.
‘‘And diabetes is becoming the number one leader in heart disease, so if we can pick up these things earlier before they have the heart attack or cardiovascular event, it will save their life.’’
Ms Koch believes pharmacies are now playing a more prominent role in the healthcare system than ever before.
‘‘I think more often these days pharmacies are people’s first port of call,’’ she said.
‘‘In small towns, doctors’ surgeries are under the pump, especially lately because we’ve had doctors leave the area.
‘‘We are seeing more and more people coming in and getting our opinions before they even go to the doctor.
‘‘People are also more technology savvy and are doing the Dr Google and just want confirmation from us and we can take those measurements and confirm things.
It’s a lot different to what it was 50 years ago, that’s for sure.’’
Ms Koch believes the role of the pharmacy will continue to evolve with the industry to ease pressure on doctors.
‘‘You’ve now got nurses that can write prescriptions and I think it will come to a point where we are doing the flu jabs and vaccinations for people with whooping cough and you’re going to get prescribing pharmacists soon,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s so open in terms of what’s to come in the future. We are trying to take the pressure off doctors, but we all have to work together, too — it’s not just doctors and pharmacists, it’s the whole health profession.’’
For more information or to book a screening, visit: www.discountdrugstores.com.au