How will the NHS Health Check help me?
You will have your individual cardiovascular risk (risk of getting conditions related to the heart or circulation) calculated and explained to you.
While the cardiovascular risk levels vary from person to person, everyone is at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and some types of dementia.
At your NHS Health Check you will be given advice on how to prevent them.
Your NHS Health Check can detect potential health problems before they do real damage.
What happens at the NHS Health Check?
An NHS Health Check takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
The health professional – often a nurse or healthcare assistant – will ask you some questions about your lifestyle and family history, measure your height and weight, and take your blood pressure and do a blood test. The blood test will be done either before the check with a blood sample from your arm, or at the check.
Your blood test results can show 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 improve your risk. This could include talking about:
- how to improve your diet and the amount of physical activity you do
- taking medicines to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol
- how to lose weight or stop smoking
Where do you have an NHS Health Check?
This depends where you live.
You'll usually have your NHS Health Check at a GP surgery or local pharmacy, but it could happen at your local library or leisure centre.
In some areas, NHS Health Checks are offered from mobile units to passers-by and in workplaces.
How can I arrange to have an NHS Health Check?
You'll be invited for a free NHS Health Check every 5 years if you're between 40 and 74 years of age and do not already have a pre-existing condition.
If you're registered with a GP surgery that offers the NHS Health Check, you should automatically get an invitation. Do not worry if you have not been invited yet – you will be over the next 5 years.
Alternatively, your local authority will send you an appointment letter explaining where you have to go for your NHS Health Check.
If you're not sure if you're eligible for an NHS Health Check and would like one, or if you are eligible but have not had an NHS Health Check in the last 5 years, ask at a GP surgery for an appointment.
Do NHS Health Checks work?
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 5 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:
- for every 30 to 40 people having an NHS Health Check, 1 person is diagnosed with high blood pressure
- for every 80 to 200 people having a Health Check, 1 person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
- for every 6 to 10 people having an NHS Health Check, 1 person is identified as being at high risk of cardiovascular disease
I was not happy with my NHS Health Check. How can I give feedback?
The NHS Health Check programme is run by your local authority, so you can contact them with any questions or feedback about the way it's delivered in your area.
You do not have to wait for an NHS Health Check to learn more about taking care of your health.
You can find information about most health conditions and how to have a healthier lifestyle on the NHS website. For example: