PEOPLE can now ask for a full health GP check in a bid to detect undiagnosed heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.

Previously those aged 40 to 74 had to wait for a letter appointment.

But now they can request the 30-minute ‘NHS health check’ with their GP.

County health bosses who introduced the change are particularly keen to identify those with diabetes.

In Hampshire over 57,000 people over the age of 17 are known to have the condition, most of whom are overweight.

About 85 per cent of these people will have type 2 diabetes, with 15 per cent having type 1 diabetes.

But of concern are the estimated 13,000 adults living in the county who have either types but do not know it.

Untreated diabetes not only leads to heart disease, kidney failure, possible limb amputations but also to blindness - all of which is avoidable.

Adult Social Care and Public Health chief Cllr Liz Fairhurst said: “I am pleased that we have improved the existing programme by giving people the opportunity to actively request an NHS Health Check and enabling GPs to offer eligible patients one at opportune moments.

“This will help GPs better support people to stay in good health, enjoy their lives and maintain their independence for longer.

“With type 2 diabetes becoming so common, the NHS Health Check is there to help guide people to take important steps, such as weight loss and increased activity, to prevent or even reverse diabetes in its early stages.”