NHS Health Checks
What is an NHS health check?
It's basically a free midlife MOT from NHS England. It can help you spot upcoming heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, stroke and other health problems.
If you're aged 40-74 and don't already have a diagnosis for one of these conditions, you should have an NHS health check.
It takes about 20 minutes. The health professional - usually a nurse - will ask you some simple questions, measure and weigh you, take your blood pressure and probably a small prick of blood from your finger. Based on this, they will be able to give you an idea of your risk of several serious diseases: heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.
They'll then give you personalised advice to reduce your risk.
If you prefer you can ask specifically to see a man or a woman but it's not really necessary. The questions are very easy and not embarrassing and you won't have to take any clothing off.
Where do they happen?
GP practices should offer health checks. But there are also health checks carried out in other places in the community such as out-of-town stores, pubs, shopping centres, sports grounds etc. Keep an eye out.
Do NHS health checks work?
The NHS thinks so. They estimate that every year, NHS Health Checks:
- save 650 lives
- prevent 1,600 heart attacks and strokes
- prevent 4,000 people from developing type 2 diabetes
- detect at least 20,000 cases of type 2 diabetes or kidney disease earlier
One of the lives saved could be yours.
Is it a hassle? Tell me exactly what all the tests are
The questions are: your age, your ethnic group, whether you smoke, how much alcohol you drink and how much exercise you do. They will also ask whether any close relatives have had any of the diseases being checked for and may ask other questions to see if you have any symptoms of these diseases.
The tests are:
- measuring your height and weighing you (to work out your Body Mass Index or BMI)
- taking your blood pressure (using a cuff fitted over your upper arm)
- taking a finger prick of blood (to measure your cholesterol level)
The results of the tests and questions are combined to give you an estimate of your risk of the various diseases.
You may need other tests afterwards - for example to measure your blood sugar level if the healthcare professional thinks that you may have diabetes.
All very easy really.
Sounds useful. Can I have a health check?
You should get an invitation from your GP if you're in the eligible group. If you haven't yet been invited you will be over the next few years. But why not just ask your GP now.
What's it like?
Read Kevin's story: 'Get a health check'
Anything I can do now?
Date of last review 19/11/20
Date of next review 19/11/23
It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. Especially during a major pandemic like Covid-19. So we’re asking.
Men appear more likely to get Covid-19 and far, far more likely to die from it. The Men's Health Forum are working hard pushing for more action on this from government, from health professionals and from all of us. Why are men more affected and what can we do about it? We need the data. We need the research. We need the action. Currently we're the only UK charity doing this - please help us.
Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.