Free heart check ideal gift

Whangarei primary health officials have come up with the ideal gift for people to give their loved ones on Valentine's Day - a free healthy heart check.

Manaia Health Primary Health Organisation is offering free healthy heart checks at all 22 general practices it oversees throughout the district for the next few months.

The PHO says the checks will be the ideal gift for Valentine's Day with the Northland population at high risk of heart disease.

"We have a population that is at high risk and may be put off having a healthy heart check because of the cost," Manaia PHO clinical project coordinator Jayne Hill said.

Free healthy heart checks are available to Maori and Pacific men aged over 33 and Maori and Pacific women aged over 45. Checks are also free for men aged over 35 and women over 45 who have diabetes or with risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, family history of heart disease or diabetes. For all other people the checks are free for men at over 45, and women over the age of 55.

A healthy heart check - or cardiovascular risk assessment - gives information on how to reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.

"It will let you know firstly what your risk is and, more importantly, the best strategies to reduce your risk and lead a better life," Ms Hill said.

"Every 90 minutes a New Zealander dies of heart disease. Many of these deaths are premature and preventable, we urge people to contact their family doctor or nurse for a healthy heart check today."

The checks include measuring blood pressure, height, weight and waist and testing cholesterol and blood glucose levels for diabetes.

- Northern Advocate

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