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What is an NHS Health Check?

What happens at the health check, and how to get one

Everyone is at some risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and some forms of dementia. An NHS Health Check aims to help you lower your risk of developing these common but often preventable diseases.

You will be invited for a NHS Health Check once every five years if you are between 40 and 74 years old and haven't already been diagnosed with vascular diseases or have certain risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol treated by medication.

At the check, your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes will be assessed through some straightforward tests and standard questions about your lifestyle and family medical history. You’ll be offered personalised advice and support to help you lower that risk and stay healthy. This could include suggestions on small changes to your diet or how much exercise you take if your risk is low or moderate. If you are at higher risk, you might be offered things such as medicines to control your blood pressure, along with help to take action including losing weight or stopping smoking.

It makes sense for all eligible people to have a routine NHS Health Check for these conditions every five years. That means you can take action early, and greatly improve your chance of a healthier and longer life. Small, long-lasting changes to your lifestyle can make a huge difference.

The check will take around 20 to 30 minutes:

  • You’ll be asked some simple questions about your family history, whether or not you smoke and how much alcohol you drink.
  • 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.
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