Health professionals in Dorset are hoping that cases of undiagnosed illness such as diabetes and heart disease can be reduced in the county with the introduction of a new testing scheme.
Public Health Dorset, a collaborative health group formed by Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset councils, are encouraging people to take up free health checks offered by their GP.
According to figures released nationally by Public Health England, around 650 lives could have been saved per year by people taking up early health checks.
In addition, about 4000 cases of diabetes and 1600 heart attacks could have been prevented across the country each year.
The check involves standard questions about lifestyle and family medical history, as well as a screening for potential illness.
Through the campaign, Public Health Dorset are focusing on lowering the risk of diseases and sudden illness such as stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.
The national scheme is open to anyone registered with a GP practice aged between 40 and 75.
The body says that men in their early forties are the primary target, as they are currently the group taking the least advantage of pre-existing checks.
Helena Cain from Public Health Dorset, said “There has been a general drive to increase the amount of people who know about and sign up for a health check by responding to an invite or proactively booking themselves in.
“The aim is to increase the amount of people who engage with this valuable service.”
Statistics showed that diabetes was the biggest health threat in the UK, with around 3.7 million believed to be living with the condition.
Public Health Dorset also produced the video below, entitled “A Message for Brian”, as a further way of spreading the message about the health checks.
People who think they are eligible for health checks should visit their local GP.