A FREE ‘Heart Health Check’ pilot pharmacy service is now available in Knutsford to help keep adult heart health in-check post lockdown.

The pilot is running until the end of July at the Rowlands pharmacy branch on Parkgate Lane after a recent pharmacy-led research report shone a light on the potentially damaging impact Covid-19 has had on the region’s general everyday health.

Rowlands is calling on adults across Knutsford to immediately recognise and act upon factors that pose an increased risk to their everyday general health, such as weight gain, increased alcohol consumption, smoking, and a reduction in exercise.

The nationwide study from Rowlands revealed that 3 in 10 adults living across the North West are unhealthier now compared to before the start of the pandemic, with 41 per cent admitting to gaining weight and 37 per cent exercising less during lockdown.

The new pilot service welcomes customers in-branch to receive a heart-age score, along with a cardiovascular risk assessment based on height and weight measurements, blood pressure readings and a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation.

The service also offers appropriate lifestyle advice and support or signposting to other local health and support services.

Good heart health relies on people taking regular care of their bodies – carefully monitoring physical wellbeing.

"Many people have struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle during lockdown," says Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of Patientaccess.com, in support of the scheme.

"Whether it’s excess pounds, more alcohol or less exercise, it’s important to take steps to identify risk factors and get support to act on them."

Demand for the new health-check service was highlighted furthermore, with nearly two fifths of those living in the North West (37 per cent) reportedly focused on improving their health and nearly three fifths (59 per cent) interested in accessing health checks from a community pharmacy, now lockdown restrictions were easing.

Commenting on the new pharmacy pilot service, Natasha Klein, Pharmacist at Rowlands Pharmacy Knutsford said: "It’s clear that during a tough year of social restrictions, many people have turned to things that comfort them – be it food, drink or nicotine.

"Unfortunately, these comfort blankets in excess can come at a cost to the body and increase the risk of physical health conditions such as heart disease, cholesterol and diabetes.

"In the wake of the pandemic, community pharmacy plays a pivotal role in offering everyday health support.

"By piloting this free health check-up service, we hope to actively help curb the increased health risks lockdown restrictions have imposed on the health of this community."

Mark Bather, Managing Director for Rowlands, added: “Pharmacies play a hugely supportive role in driving good health habits.

"Our network is committed to offering face-to-face healthcare advice and treatment across all areas of everyday health.

"We have witnessed first-hand some notable impacts on the region’s health over the course of this pandemic and will continue to keep our doors open for those looking to seek support and care in restoring good health."