NHS Health Check: What they are and how to get one

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If you’re aged 40 to 74, and don’t have a pre-existing health condition, you can get a free general health check from the NHS.

This will tell you if you could be at higher risk of health problems like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.

What happens?

The checks last about 20 or 30 minutes and are usually carried out by nurses, but you may see a doctor, pharmacist or healthcare assistant.

When you go for a check, you’ll have a number of quick tests and measurements. You may also have given a blood sample beforehand

Your individual risk of cardiovascular disease will then be explained to you, based on the results and your answers to a few questions.

The questions will cover:

  • Family history of illness
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Physical activity

Your weight, height and blood pressure will also be measured and taken into consideration — along with your age, sex and ethnicity.

Your risk level for other health issues will also be explained to you.

How to get an NHS Health Check

You can have an NHS Health Check if you’re aged 40 to 74, haven’t had a stroke and don’t have a preexisting health condition.

How you get a check depends on where you live, and over-40s will usually be offered one. If you are not, you could ask at your GP surgery or a pharmacy (many of them offer health checks).

What happens next?

You’ll be given a low, moderate or high risk of getting heart or circulation problems in the next 10 years.

Your results should also be broken down to cover:

  • Your body mass index (BMI)
  • Your blood pressure
  • Your cholesterol levels
  • Your alcohol use score
  • Your physical activity assessment result
  • Your diabetes risk assessment

And you will have the chance to discuss how to improve your scores by making changes to your lifestyle.

Useful links and resources

NHS Health Check locator

NHS Health Check

07 July, 2023

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