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The Netherlands is launching a large-scale investigation into the use of home testing to detect the early signs of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney damage in people aged 50 to 75. Check@Home will be providing self test kits to 160,000 people in Breda, Utrecht, Arnhem and Eindhoven in a trial run for the programme. This will, officials hope, eventually result in a nationwide screening of all 50 to 75-year-olds via home testing. Some 20% to 50% of people are already showing early signs of heart and kidney disease and diabetes but are not aware of them, Rebecca Abma-Schouten of heart foundation Hartstichting said. ‘But if we find them early enough we can prevent serious complications like kidney failure, stroke, heart attacks or heart failure,’ she said.

Officials hope that the new screening programme will bring down the number of patients by 25%. Self testing has been use for the early detection of colon cancer for the same age group since 2014. Health institute RIVM calculated that the screening prevents some 2,250 deaths from colon cancer every year. Some 1.5 million people in the Netherlands have some form of heart disease. Around 1.7 million people have kidney damage and a over a million suffer from type 2 diabetes.

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