The NHS Health Check is a health check-up for adults in England aged 40-74. It’s designed to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes or dementia. As we get older, we have a higher risk of developing one of these conditions. An NHS Health Check helps find ways to lower this risk.
If you’re in the 40-74 age groups without a pre-existing condition, you can expect to receive a letter from your GP or local authority inviting you for a free NHS Health Check every five years. In the meantime, you may want to try this online Heart Age test.
As well as measuring your risk of developing these health problems, an NHS Health Check gives you advice on how to prevent them.The risk level varies from person to person, but everyone is at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and some types of dementia. Your NHS Health Check can detect potential health problems before they do real damage.
An NHS Health Check takes about 20-30 minutes. The health professional – often a nurse or healthcare assistant – will ask you some simple questions about your lifestyle and family history, measure your height and weight, and take your blood pressure and do a blood test – often using a small finger prick test. Based on this, they will be able to give you an idea of your chances of getting heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes. If you’re over 65, you will also be told the signs and symptoms of dementia to look out for.
You will then receive personalised advice to lower your risk. This could include talking about:
You would usually have your NHS Health Check at one of our GP surgeries, but it could happen at other places in your local area, such as a shopping centre, library or leisure centre.
How can I arrange to have an NHS Health Check?
You’ll be invited for a free NHS Health Check every five years if you’re between 40 and 74 years of age and do not already have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease or high blood pressure.
If you’re registered with a GP surgery that offers the NHS Health Check, you should automatically get an invitation. Don’t worry if you haven’t been invited yet – you will be over the next five years.
If you’re not sure if you’re eligible for an NHS Health Check and would like one, or if you are eligible but haven’t had an NHS Health Check in the last five years, ask us for an appointment now.
The health conditions picked up by the NHS Health Check are, when added together, the biggest cause of preventable deaths in the UK, with around 7 million people affected by them.In its first five years, the NHS Health Check is estimated to have prevented 2,500 heart attacks or strokes. This is the result of people receiving treatment after their Health Check.
The latest research suggests that:
You can find information about most health conditions and how to have a healthier lifestyle on the NHS Choices website.