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32 Health


THE HERALD FRIDAY JANUARY 13 2017


Cardiac care improving in Wales Plans include:


thanks to better management of the condition. “The British Heart Foundation


recently described Wales as a world leader in cardiac rehabilitation, as we have seen a significant increase in the number of patients receiving the service following a heart attack. We are looking to build on this great progress for the future.” Judith Paget, Chief Executive of


Proud of Wales’ world-leading status in cardiac care: Vaughan Gething


FEWER people are dying from


cardiovascular disease in Wales thanks to improvements in care, but more can be done. Vaughan Gething said: “We have seen a steady decline in the number


of people dying from cardiovascular disease in Wales – rates fell by almost 1,000 people a year between 2010 and 2015. Hospital admissions for coronary heart disease also fell by 21% over the last five years


Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Chair of the Heart Conditions Implementation Group, said: “Cardiovascular disease remains a major cause of ill health and death in Wales. We know that quitting smoking and regular exercise can help reduce heart disease risks, and our plan looks at how we can help people to make healthy choices. “The NHS in Wales is making


big strides. Cardiac care and survival rates continue to improve. This plan outlines how we can keep these improvements going into the future.”


Your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes A LEADING diabetes charity


says urgent action is needed this National Obesity Awareness Week (Jan 9-15). This January, Diabetes UK Cymru


is urging people to find out their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Nearly two in every three adults in Wales are overweight or obese, so are at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Diets full of sugar and fat, and


not getting much exercise often, leads to weight gain which puts people at higher risk of developing the condition, warns Diabetes UK Cymru. Currently, 540,000 people in Wales are at high risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. As many as three out of five cases


of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented through adopting a healthy lifestyle. But, if it’s not managed properly, diabetes can result in life-changing and devastating consequences such as blindness, limb amputations or even an early death.


Diabetes UK Cymru’s Director,


Dai Williams, said: “Finding out if you’re at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is important so you can start doing something about it now. It takes less than three minutes to use Diabetes UK’s online questionnaire, ‘Know Your Risk’. You just need to take three measurements (your height, weight and waist), then answer a few simple questions. If the results show you are at risk, we’ll suggest you visit your GP surgery for further tests and advice. “There are small lifestyle changes


anyone can make to combat this serious and urgent crisis. Moving around a little bit more, making better food choices and eating less fat and sugar can help a great deal in reducing someone’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.” Unlike Type 1 diabetes, which


is not linked to lifestyle and cannot be prevented, the most important risk factor for developing Type 2


diabetes is being overweight or obese, especially for people who are particularly large around the middle. Most people aren’t aware that having a large waist can put them at risk even if they have a healthy BMI (body mass index). Type 2 diabetes can go unnoticed


for years, increasing someone’s chances of heart disease and stokes, as well as other fatal complications; this is why it’s so important people check their risk as soon as possible. To find out more about preventing


Type 2 diabetes and get exercise tips as well as nutritious and tasty recipes, visit Diabetes UK’s website. You can also get advice and support by calling the Diabetes UK Helpline on 0345 123 2399. Anyone concerned about their


health should visit their GP as soon as possible. A visit to your local surgery is also a good way to find out what support is available.


 Te development of an out of hospital cardiac arrest plan to improve survival rates;


 Targeting resources to hard to reach groups, and development of community cardiology clinics where


early diagnosis and treatment can be offered closer to a patients’ home;


 Improved access to Familial Hypercholesterolaemia testing for people who have very high cholesterol levels, or who have a personal or family history of premature vascular disease as well as testing for close family members;


 Work with Health and Care Research Wales to increase the number of heart condition research studies


undertaken in Wales and to increase research relating to children and young people.


Lower alcohol consumption encouraged LOCAL health professionals


are encouraging people to think about how much alcohol they drink a week, and advising on the best ways to cut down or give up the booze this January. Whether you’re giving up alcohol


for the month by taking part in Dry January or Dryathalon, or simply looking at the number of units you consume, there is plenty of support and help available. The challenge to stop drinking


for one month can help people to feel healthier, lose weight, sleep better and save money, but cutting down on alcohol longer term can provide lasting health and wealth benefits. On


average, 38%


(Carmarthenshire 38%, Ceredigion 39%, Pembrokeshire 37%) of adults living in Hywel Dda have reported drinking above guidelines on at least one day in the past week, and 21% (Carmarthenshire 22%, Ceredigion 22%, Pembrokeshire 20%) have reported binge-drinking on at least one day in the past week. Alcohol is a major preventable


cause of death and illness, with around 1,500 deaths in Wales related to alcohol each year. Alcohol can also have a major negative impact on our communities; alcohol fuelled


crime, domestic violence, vandalism and anti social behaviour can lead to unemployment, loss of driving licence and higher car insurance costs. Rhys Sinnett, Principal Public


Health Practitioner for Hywel Dda Public Health Team, said: “Whilst most people enjoy a tipple from time to time, many are not aware of the health impacts of consistently drinking over the weekly recommended limits. “It’s a lot easier than people think


to develop a habit of using alcohol as a means of reducing stress or as a reward. One glass can sometimes turn into two or three and if that happens regularly, you could be putting your health at risk. “The good news is that there are


lots of ways you can cut back on alcohol, without cutting it out. Look at the number of units in what you are drinking, stick to the weekly sensible guidelines and have at least two alcohol free days a week. “And if you are taking part in


an alcohol free January, enjoy the benefits you’ll find to your health and well-being.” If you are concerned about your


level of alcohol consumption or someone else’s, help and advice is available from the Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline on 0808 808 2232.


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