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Free NHS Health Checks for residents aged 40-74

The NHS Health Check is a free check-up of your overall health. It can tell you whether you're at higher risk of getting certain health problems.

Am I eligible for an NHS Health Check?

The check is for people who are aged 40 to 74 who do not have any of the following pre-existing conditions:

  • heart disease

  • chronic kidney disease

  • diabetes

  • high blood pressure (hypertension)

  • atrial fibrillation

  • transient ischaemic attack

  • inherited high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia)

  • heart failure

  • peripheral arterial disease

  • stroke

  • currently being prescribed statins to lower cholesterol

  • previous checks have found that you have a 20% or higher risk of getting cardiovascular disease over the next 10 years

You should have regular check-ups if you have one of these conditions. Your care team will be able to give you more information about this.

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.

Dr Sarah Jarvis talks about the importance of NHS Health Checks and patients describe their experiences in the video below.

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

Read more about what happens at an NHS Health Check

Find out about the pros and cons of having an NHS Health Check

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.

The NHS Health Check programme aims to prevent cardiovascular disease, and associated conditions, through the early assessment, awareness and management of individual behavioural and physiological risk factors.

In doing so it promotes the early identification of cardiovascular disease and the other associated conditions. It also supports individuals to manage and reduce behavioural risks and associated conditions through information and evidence-based risk reduction interventions.

The programme has the potential to:

  • prevent 1,600 heart attacks and strokes

  • prevent 4,000 people a year from developing diabetes

  • detect 20,000 cases of diabetes or kidney disease each year

  • avoid at least 650 premature deaths a year

A total of 15 million people are eligible for free NHS Health Checks in England.

Read more about how to get an NHS Health Check

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