NHS Health Check

What happens at an NHS Health Check?

At your NHS Health Check you'll have a few simple tests to check your risk of:

If you're over 65, you will also be told the signs and symptoms of dementia to look out for.

How to prepare for your NHS Health Check

You won't usually need to prepare for your NHS Health Check – particularly if you have it while out and about, say, at your local gym or leisure centre.

But if you have a booked appointment for your Health Check, check in advance whether you need to do anything to prepare. Your invitation letter should give you all the information you need.

On the day of your NHS Health Check

The Check itself is carried out by a health professional. This will usually be a nurse, but it could also be a doctor, pharmacist or healthcare assistant. The entire process takes about 20-30 minutes.

You will be asked some simple questions, including:

  • whether any of your close relatives have had the illnesses being checked for
  • if and how much you smoke
  • how much alcohol you drink, if any
  • what your diet is like
  • how much physical activity you do

Your weight and height will be measured to work out your body mass index (BMI).

Your waist may also be measured using a tape measure.

Your age, gender and ethnicity will be noted.

Your blood pressure will be taken using a cuff fitted over your upper arm – find out what happens during a blood pressure test.

You will have a small prick of blood taken from your finger to check your cholesterol level and possibly also your blood sugar level. Learn more about what happens during a cholesterol test.

Getting your results

You'll usually be told your results during the appointment, but sometimes you may be asked to come back on another day to get your blood test results.

You'll be given a risk score, which is an estimate of how likely you are to get heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes or have a stroke in the future.

The higher your risk score, the more likely you are to develop one of these illnesses.

Depending on your score, you'll be given personalised advice on how to lower your risk with lifestyle changes.

This could include talking about how to:

You may also be referred to local services, such as stop smoking and physical activity services, to help you make any changes.

If you're over 65, you will also be told the signs and symptoms of dementia to look out for.

Your risk score

If your risk score is in the higher range, you will be given lifestyle advice to help you reduce your risk and you may be prescribed medicines to lower your cholesterol level.

You may also be asked to come back for more tests to check for high blood pressure or diabetes, or to see if your kidneys are healthy.

A summary of the results of your NHS Health Check will be recorded in your confidential medical records, which can be accessed by your GP and other healthcare professionals who need to see it if you consult them. You will also be given your own copy for your records.

Read more about your NHS Health Check results.

Page last reviewed: 01/11/2016

Next review due: 01/11/2019

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Find out more about the NHS Health Check so you can balance the benefits against the possible drawbacks