NHS Health checks: ‘I have diabetes and you could have it too’

See all 4 photos MOTORBIKE enthusiast Mark Taylor admits that his Type 2 diabetes diagnosis still feels ‘very raw’.

Doctors only caught the disease in January after the 50-year-old put himself forward for a free ‘road test’ after hearing about the free NHS Health Check.

Mr Taylor, 50, booked himself in to the Leys Health Centre on January 15 and a couple of blood tests later it was confirmed he had diabetes.

He is now urging others to have the free check up which is designed to catch early warning signs of a range of conditions such as diabetes, stroke, kidney and heart disease, and dementia.

“I’ve started on medication now and the doctors have been brilliant getting it all sorted for me,” said Mr Taylor.

“If I’m honest it’s all still very raw and I’m on a real learning curve.

“I would just urge everybody to go along and get the NHS Health Check done. You might be worried about something small but that something small could expand and become something bigger.”

NHS Health Checks are funded by Oxfordshire County Council ’s Public Health team, which exist to improve the health of local people and protect them from preventable health issues – helping local residents live safe and healthy lives and play an active role in their communities.

Since 2013 more than 190,000 health check invitations have been sent out in Oxfordshire, with 95,485 taking up the offer (50.4 per cent) meaning the county has one of the highest take-up rates in the country.

Analysis of data collected in Oxfordshire shows a shortfall in men aged between 40 and 55, as well as those from ethnic minority groups.

Mr Taylor, a forklift engineer, decided he should get himself checked out as he falls into that age category.

Looking back, he now realises he was wrong to have ignored a significant increase in fluid intake and the loss of a stone in weight.

He said: “Last summer I did start to get some odd symptoms. I was drinking an extra three to four litres a day but just put it down to the heatwave.

“It was one of the symptoms really that should have made me go and see someone and say ‘this isn’t right’. But I didn’t. I just buried my head in the sand.

“Then, as I was recovering from a shoulder operation, my weight dropped from 13st to 12st. I didn’t think weight loss was linked to diabetes.”

Mr Taylor is determined his diagnosis won’t change his outlook on life and he’s already joined a support group on Facebook, as well as planning changes to his diet.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve got a fantastic diet but it’s not a terrible diet,” he said. “I don’t drink alcohol to excess and I quit smoking three years ago, so I think I’m relatively ok.”

In a bid to promote the health checks, shoppers were offered a free mini NHS health check at on Saturday as the public health team set up shop at Templars Square in Cowley.

County council cabinet member for Public Health, Lawrie Stratford, said: “These mini checks have been introduced in a bid to raise awareness of free NHS Health Checks as an important way to help the local community stay fit and healthy.

“Health checks are a brilliant way for people to get an overview of their general health and a fast, effective method of finding out if there are some simple things they could be doing to improve their long-term health and wellbeing.”

Health checks are available to anyone aged between 40 and 74 who has not already been diagnosed with an existing cardiovascular condition.

GP surgeries will automatically send out invitations once every five years, but if you haven’t had one, or didn’t respond to the invite, contact your surgery and make an appointment.

The full check will take around 20 minutes:

• You will be asked some simple questions about your family history, whether or not you smoke and how much alcohol you drink

• Your height, weight, sex, ethnicity and age will be recorded

• Your blood pressure will be taken

• A simple blood test will check your cholesterol level

• Your body mass index (BMI) will be calculated.

• Your level of risk of developing a cardiovascular condition (i.e. stroke, kidney and heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and dementia) will be calculated

For further information about free NHS Health Checks visit: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/nhshealthcheck Play this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!

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