People living in and around Crewkerne had the opportunity to get expert advice and information to improve their health and lifestyle last Saturday (27-9-14).
Local GPs, the NHS, district council and voluntary sector organisations were offering free health advice at the Henhayes Community Centre, Crewkerne at a Healthy Lifestyle Fair.
Describing the aims of the health fair, Dr Sarah Pearce, a GP from the Springmead Surgery in Chard, said: "As family doctors we want to encourage patients to stay healthy. Prevention is always better than cure and by making a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle you could add years to your life.
"Many people want to improve their health but find it difficult to get motivated. One way is to join groups that can help give support to members. Whether you are trying to lose weight or quit smoking, there are groups to help. You will also find healthy trainer groups and walking groups. Ask at your GP surgery for details."
Taking blood pressures at the Health Fair was Dr Emeline Dean, a GP from Chard and the Chair of the Chard, Crewkerne and Ilminster GP Federation. David McVay , a visiting member of the public had his blood pressure checked. Afterwards he said: "I'm fairly healthy so I don't usually think of having my blood pressure checked. It was good to have a health check today. As someone who has just retired I think keeping healthy is essential."
Amongst the many displays and participating organisations was Sue Briggs, a volunteer with Diabetes UK. Sue said: "The number of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes is rising, but one of our major concerns is the number of people who have Type 2 diabetes but don't know it. If not diagnosed diabetes causes all sorts of serious medical complications.
"We have been advising people of the symptoms to look out for. We call these the four Ts. They stand for Toilet; you might notice you need to go the toilet more often; Thirst; you can find you are often thirsty. Tired; you may be feeling more tired than usual and Thinner; are you losing weight?
"If you think you may have symptoms of diabetes make an appointment to talk to your GP."
Advice was also on hand to anyone who wanted to quit smoking from the Somerset Stop Smoking Service. Former smoker Baz, explained that he had first started smoking as a teenager: "I think it's a good thing for smokers to quit. Smoking is like any other addiction. But if you want to quit you have to get yourself into the right frame of mind. Stop smoking services can help give you the extra support you may need. I smoked for years. When I did stop I put on a lot of weight, but I soon lost it and feel a lot healthier for it."
Angie Ashmore, an Ambulance Care Assistant from Yeovil who works for the South Western Ambulance Services NHS Trust, was advising visitors to the fair how to administer CPR to a person who has had a heart attack. Angie said: "Learning how to carry out basic Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a valuable skill that could help keep a heart attack victim alive until an ambulance or paramedic arrived. We have also been showing parents how to deal with a baby or child who was choking."
Health information and advice is always available from the NHS Choices web site at www.nhs.uk .
If you become ill after your GP surgery has closed overnight or at weekends and Bank Holidays then telephone the new NHS telephone helpline - 111. Telephone calls to 111 are free from mobile or landlines.