Free health checks for South Asian community in Buckinghamshire shine light on wider risk factors
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has launched free health checks for people of South Asian heritage within the local community from this week (from 17 January 2022).
The health checks are part of a research study to understand why some conditions are more common in this community.
South Asian heritage people have twice the risk of cardiovascular disease and three-times the risk of diabetes compared to other Europeans. These differences are not explained by ‘classic’ risk factors, including insulin resistance and obesity, or known genetics factors.
Volunteers aged 25 to 85 of Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan heritage are being encouraged to take part to provide information, undergo tests and give samples during a 90-minute assessment carried out by Wycombe Hospital’s clinical research team.
They will receive a report about their results and be referred to NHS care if the assessment identifies any concerns.
Selma Malik, aged 37, was the first patient through the doors: “My community can be reluctant to get their health checked out, but I’d really urge people of South Asian heritage to take up this offer. It’s free, it might help you to make lifestyle changes to improve your health – and on top of that you’ll be contributing to research which will benefit us all.”
Selma talks about her experience below.
Consultant Cardiologist Dr Piers Clifford Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust based at Wycombe Hospital, said: “This important study aims to understand the reasons why patients of South Asian origin are at greater risk of developing some diseases.
“It also provides a valuable opportunity for our South Asian heritage population to receive a comprehensive cardiovascular health screen so that we can intervene earlier on any risk factors that we identify.
“The report that the patient will receive contains a wealth of advice on how to reduce cardiovascular risk and should go a long way towards reducing inequalities in outcomes for our high-risk communities.”
Participation involves a 90-minute visit to Wycombe Hospital which involves:
- A questionnaire about participants’ health
- Measurement of height, weight, waist and hip size, and body fat
- A blood pressure check
- An electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure heart rhythm and electrical activity
- A breathing test to measure lung function
- A photograph of the back of the eyes
- A blood and urine sample
Participants will then be asked to wear a wristwatch which monitors physical activity for a week.
Researchers will follow participants’ health through NHS and other health–related records over the long term for 20 or more years to give a fuller picture of disease prevalence.
The study – which aims to recruit 200,000 people over the next three years – is funded by the Wellcome Trust and overseen by Imperial College, the Medical Research Council and National Institute for Health Research.
More information and sign up
For more information and to sign up, visit www.sabiobank.org or call 0204 542 8494. Some Buckinghamshire GP practices will also be contacting patients by text message to ask if they would like to take part.