Heart health screen­ing

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Pa­trick Tansey

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

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