31 August 2018 09:00
NHS Health Checks help diagnose a number of illnesses
Fewer than half of adults are taking advantage of the free midlife MOT offered by the NHS, despite its potential to help diagnose serious illnesses.
A study by charity Diabetes UK found that only 44% of adults eligible for an NHS Health Check over the last five years had actually had one.
The so-called MOT check-up is available to adults in England aged 40 to 70 and can help spot early signs of type 2 diabetes, along with heart disease, dementia, stroke and kidney disease.
And with an estimated one million people in the UK living with Type 2 diabetes who have not been diagnosed, the charity is urging local authorities to do more to encourage people to take part.
According to Diabetes UK, between 2013 and 2018, 15.5 million people were eligible to receive an NHS Health Check, but only 6.8 million had one.
It said many adults who are found to be at a high risk of Type 2 diabetes through the scheme are referred to the specialist NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, which helps reduce their risks.
Across the UK there are 12.3 million people at increased risk of developing diabetes and knowing their risk factor could help them prevent its onset, the charity added.
Across England, every local authority is required by law to ensure all eligible people in their area are offered a check every five years.
“The success of the programme in certain areas is due to local councils working hard to make it easier for people to attend these free health checks that only take 15 minutes and can help keep people healthy,” said Diabetes UK head of policy Robin Hewings.
“It is absolutely vital that all people who are eligible in every area get a health check.
“If left undiagnosed, Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications, including blindness, amputations, stroke and kidney failure, but with the right treatment and support people living with the condition can lead a long, full and healthy life.”
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