NHS Health Checks
At Bewick Road Surgery we offer a free NHS Health Check which is for adults in England between the ages of 40 and 74, who have no chronic deseases.
Helping you prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease
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: 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, and you’ll be offered personalised advice and support to help you lower that risk.
The introduction of NHS Health Check across England started in 2009, but full implementation of the programme will take some time and is not expected until 2012/13. This means that some people may not receive their invitation to the check until after this time. Local Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) will decide who to invite first, and how to contact people.
In the meantime, if you’re worried about your health, contact your GP in the usual way.
The checks are likely to be offered in GP surgeries and some local pharmacies. They may also be offered at other suitable and accessible locations in your community.
You can find out more about how to get the check in NHS Health Check and you.
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 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.
- 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 healthcare professional (who could be your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist) 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.
You can find out more about the four diseases in Why these four diseases?
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; learn more in Lose weight
- be physically active; learn more in Fitness
- eat a healthy and balanced diet; learn more in Food and diet
- don’t smoke; learn more in Stop smoking
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.