Free heart health checks have marketplace pumping

IT’S THE furthest thing from a doctor’s office, but the Sapphire Marketplace was filled with people receiving health checks last week. 

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Health Check Booth paid another visit to the Bega Valley, this time in partnership with financial organisation IMB. 

Nurses from the mobile booth were brought to the area last year by health insurer HCF, but this time thanks to a $50,000 grant from IMB Building Society Community Foundation, free health checks are being conducted throughout regional Australia. 

The three Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute nurses conducting health checks at the Sapphire Marketplace were rushed off their feet. 

“We’ve certainly had an incredible response,” nurse Sanya Kirkwood said. 

“A few hours in and we’ve already seen 80 people.

“In regional communities in particular because of the difficulty of getting a GP appointment or because of distance, people wouldn’t think of having a regular check-up.

“However, we are right here and luckily people are taking the opportunity to think about their health.”

The Health Check Booth checked blood pressure, total cholesterol and blood glucose, which gave the patient a risk factor assessment for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 

The aim of this service is to catch “modifiable” risks of cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure diabetes through a 10 minute health check and discuss ways to bring about positive lifestyle changes. 

“We are not their GP and if any of the readings are in the upper level we urge them to make an appointment as soon as possible,” Ms Kirkwood said. 

“We have a chat about exercise, diet and lowering stress, as these are all lifestyle changes that can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

“We were in Vincentia yesterday and we saw all these older people who told me they do regular ballroom dancing, and their blood pressure and cholesterol were excellent.

“Being active really makes a difference.”

Ms Kirkwood said they had seen many people in their 50s and 60s with elevated cholesterol. 

“It’s a bit of a concern the amount of people here today with this result, however this is something that needs to checked further with their own GP.” 

Patricia Hinves of South Pambula came to the Sapphire Marketplace to shop with her husband, but was happy to visit the mobile health booth. 

“In the back of my mind I always think I should get myself checked for diabetes, but I never do,” she said.

“Having this here is a clever idea and I really thank the nurses for coming out today.”

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