NHS Health Check
Are you aged between 40 and 74?
You are entitled to a free NHS health check.
What is NHS health check?
What happens at the health check, and how to get one?
An NHS health check aims to help you lower your risk of four common but often preventable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease. It’s for adults in England aged between 40 and 74, who haven’t already been diagnosed with any of those four diseases.
If you’re eligible for an NHS health check, you’ll be invited for a check once every five years. At the check, your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes will be assessed. You will also be offered personalised advice and support to help you lower that risk.
The checks are offered in GP surgeries.
What will happen at the NHS health check?
There are two parts to NHS health check. First, you will be asked a few simple questions and then have a few straightforward health tests. These will allow an assessment of your risk of developing four diseases: heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease.
The check will take around 20-30 minutes:
- You’ll be asked some simple questions about your family history, and any medication you’re taking.
- Your height, weight, sex, ethnicity and age will be recorded.
- Your blood pressure will be taken.
- A simple blood test will check your cholesterol level. This is taken two weeks before your appointment.
- Your body mass index (BMI) will be calculated. BMI is a measure of whether you’re a healthy weight for your height.
After this, a practice nurse will give you your results and explain what they mean. In some instances, tests may have to be sent away for analysis. This means that some people won’t get their test results immediately and may be asked to return at a later date for this discussion.
You’ll be given advice and support on maintaining good health, and on lifestyle changes that will help you to improve your health. If necessary, you’ll be offered treatments that will help: for example, medicine to lower raised blood pressure
Why is the NHS health check important?
An NHS health check will help to identify your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes or kidney disease. Together, these four diseases are the largest cause of death in the UK. They affect more than 4 million people in the UK and are the reason for one-fifth of all hospital admissions.
Everyone is at some risk of developing these four diseases. But by identifying that risk early and taking steps to reduce it, you can improve your chance of maintaining or improving your health as you get older.
How the NHS health check will help
Once the NHS health check has shown you your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes or kidney disease, you’ll find out what you can do to reduce your risk. That may mean lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet, cutting down on alcohol, or increasing the amount of physical activity that you do.
There are some risk factors for these four diseases that can’t be changed. For example, your risk increases with age. But there’s a lot you can do to reduce your risk. You can:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Be physically active
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet
- Don’t smoke
If you’re at higher risk, those changes may be combined with medical treatments, such as medicines to lower raised blood pressure or cholesterol. You may be offered NHS support to help you stop smoking or lose weight.
These changes can help you to improve your health and prevent a disease that may otherwise have developed. NHS health check is expected to prevent 1,600 heart attacks and strokes a year and save 650 lives.
NHS health check and NHS LifeCheck
NHS health check and NHS LifeCheck are two different but complementary things.
The NHS health check is a face to face assessment with a healthcare professional. The check is for adults between 40 and 74. It will assess your risk of four important vascular diseases, then provide tailored advice and support to help you lower or manage this risk.
NHS LifeCheck is an online interactive tool that can help people aged 12 and above to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle. Users of the tool are asked for a few key pieces of information, including gender, and height and weight. LifeCheck uses this to direct users to useful information and advice on a range of key health issues, including weight, smoking, alcohol consumption and mental health.
What to do now
If you would like to request an appointment, please visit our Consulting Room.