Better testing for New Zealand’s biggest killer

Tony Ryall

18 DECEMBER, 2013

Health Minister Tony Ryall says revised clinical guidelines released today will make it easier for New Zealanders to find out if they are at risk of developing heart disease or diabetes.

“Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes, are the leading cause of death in New Zealand. And diabetes is one of the fastest growing long-term conditions in the country,” says Mr Ryall.

“The earlier heart disease, pre-diabetes or diabetes are detected, the sooner that people can make healthy changes to their lifestyles.

“More New Zealanders than ever before are having heart and diabetes checks, but we have more work to do to reach our target of 90 per cent of adults having a check in the last five years.

“These new guidelines will help us increase the number of New Zealanders receiving checks by making it easier and more user friendly for those performing the assessment.

“One of the most significant changes is that people no longer have to fast before having their blood tests.

“In the past, people couldn’t eat for hours before their tests, with many having to make an extra trip to their doctors to have their bloods taken. Now people can have their blood tests at any time,” says Mr Ryall.

The revised guidelines have been developed by a group of experts including general practitioners and cardiologists.

The resource will be distributed to general practices in the New Year.