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Few miles on the clock? It's time to get a health MOT

PRECAUTIONS: A simple NHS check could save your life (photo credit: Thought Catalog)

AS THE years pass by, the need to look after your body becomes ever-greater – and there’s no shame in taking a little bit of extra care to make sure you can enjoy later life free of health problems.

If you just want to be sure that everything’s going well, you can attend an NHS Health Check, which will let you know exactly what’s going on.


The NHS Health Check is a free check-up of your overall health. It can tell you whether you are at higher risk of getting certain health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke.

If you are over 65, you will also be told the signs and symptoms of dementia to be aware of.

Generally, if you are between 40 and 74, you should have an NHS Health Check every five years. Any follow-up tests or appointments are also free of charge.


As well as measuring your risk of developing these health problems, an NHS Health Check gives you advice on how to prevent them. The risk level varies from person to person, but everyone is at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and some types of dementia.
Your NHS Health Check can detect potential health problems before they do real damage.


An NHS Health Check takes around 20 to 30 minutes. The health professional – often a nurse or healthcare assistant – will ask you some simple questions about your lifestyle and family history, measure your height and weight, and take your blood pressure and do a blood test – often using a small finger prick test. Based on this, they will be able to give you an idea of 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 lower your risk. This could include talking about how to improve your diet and the amount of physical activity you do. You may also be told about medicines to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, or how to lose weight or stop smoking.

If you prefer, you can ask to see a man or a woman, but the questions aren’t embarrassing and you won’t have to take your clothes off during the check.


If you’re registered with a GP surgery that offers the NHS Health Check, you should automatically get an invitation. Don’t worry if you haven’t been invited yet – you should be over the next five years. But if you’re still not sure, speak to your GP. 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 haven’t had an NHS Health Check in the last five years, ask your GP for an appointment now.

For more information, click here.

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