Health Tips Video: London Drugs Pharmacy Offers Point of Care Testing

London Drugs performs a range of point of care tests

Pharmacies are more than just places to pick up prescriptions. Did you know that some pharmacies also offer point of care testing?

Point of care testing is a term for any medical test or screening that is performed outside of a lab or clinic. The testing happens at a place where the patient is receiving care, such as a pharmacy. It’s more convenient for the patient and, as London Drugs Registered Pharmacist Ellen Cheng says, “the really big advantage is that you don’t have to wait as long for the results.” Because of advances in medical diagnostic technology, point of care tests don’t need to be processed in a lab. You can have the results right away.

London Drugs pharmacists can perform screening for several diseases and conditions:

  • Hepatitis C
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • And more

Hepatitis C Screening

Hepatitis C is a chronic disease that attacks the liver, and can cause serious liver damage or even liver failure if left untreated. There are curative treatments for hepatitis C but the BC Health Authority estimates that 1 in 4 people in BC with hepatitis C are unaware that they have it. This means that 25% of people are undiagnosed and thus not receiving treatment.

This is why London Drugs developed an in-house hepatitis C screening program, to make it easier for people to get tested and thus reduce the potential for long-term liver problems in those who do have hepatitis C. The screening involves a quick finger prick test using the OraQuick HCV rapid antibody test. This test detects hepatitis C antibodies in the blood and is 99% accurate. It takes about 20 minutes, and then the pharmacist can explain the results and what your next steps might be, including connecting with a doctor if necessary.

Osteoporosis Screening

For osteoporosis screening, a bone strength scan of the wrist can be done using a Sunlight Omnisense® device. It uses safe, non-invasive ultrasound technology and can provide immediate results which you can then discuss with your pharmacist.

Heart Disease Screening

Heart disease screening involves point of care testing of blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as measurement of your blood pressure. Like the hepatitis C screening, these tests use a small blood sample via a pin-prick device.

When visiting any London Drugs Pharmacy point of care screening clinic, please bring all your prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and any other herbal remedies you take. This can help inform the individualized plan you and your pharmacist will make.

Health Tips Video: Prevention is Key with Heart Disease

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada. Visit our healthy heart clinics

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death for Canadians (after cancer). Heart disease is actually a class of diseases that involve the structure and functions of the heart, including conditions like angina, arrhythmia, stroke, heart attack, and more.

Prevention of Heart Disease is Key

According to Sam Ma, a registered pharmacist with London Drugs, “Prevention is really key. Often there are no symptoms of heart problems until the underlying disease has progressed.” That’s really scary when you consider that 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

This means that routine screening is really important, and especially important if you’re a woman. The classic symptoms of heart disease don’t always appear in women. Women’s heart disease tends to manifest as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, stomach upset like indigestion or nausea, fatigue, and back or neck pain rather than the crushing chest pain men might experience. Because women’s heart disease can be harder to spot, women are also less likely to be prescribed the drugs they need to lower their blood pressure or cholesterol.

Check out a London Drugs Healthy Heart Clinic

So how can you get screened? London Drugs’ Healthy Heart Clinics are a great option. These are 45-minute one-on-one consultations with a Patient Care Pharmacist to discuss your heart health and look at your risk profile. This includes your lifestyle, family history, and risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and it’s estimated that 6 million adults in Canada suffer from high blood pressure.

During this screening, the pharmacist will measure your blood pressure and test your cholesterol and blood sugar via a pin-prick blood sample. You’ll also have a conversation about lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of heart disease, such as:

  • Changing your diet
  • Increasing your fitness routine
  • Quitting smoking
  • Cutting back on alcohol consumption

Your pharmacist can also call your family doctor with the results of the screening and recommend potential changes to your medication that could improve your heart health, if necessary.

You can book an appointment online at, or by calling your local London Drugs. Be sure to bring along all your prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and any herbal remedies you take to help give your pharmacist a comprehensive view of your medication routine.

Book your Healthy Heart appointment by visiting and read more on heart health here.

Dr. Art Hister – Heart Disease in Obese Kids

If your kids are fat, they’re dying too quickly.

I realize that’s a pretty scary headline but it’s really true and this is a very serious health matter, mainly because so many surveys reveal that many (perhaps even most) parents of overweight and especially of obese kids don’t realize how fat their kids are or how serious the situation is for their kids.

So to underline the seriousness, you should pay attention to a very depressing study presented at the recent Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2010.

The average age of the kids in this study of 63 obese kids was 13, and the researchers concluded that although they all still seemed to have normal blood pressures and normal cholesterol levels (compared to a control group of 55 non-obese kids), their blood vessels nevertheless had the kind of stiffness (the more stiff your arteries, the greater the risk of heart disease and strokes) normally not seen until middle age, and then only in middle-aged people with heart disease.

In other words, unless something was done to alter their status, these kids were in serious danger of developing heart disease probably as early as their young adult years.


Heart-Healthy Living – Part 2

In the past, heart disease was a greater problem for men than it was for women, but today heart disease and stroke take the lives of nearly as many women as men. And while most of the risk factors for heart disease are the same for both sexes, women’s hearts are affected by some special factors that don’t apply to men.