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'll 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've booked an 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 NHS Health Check is carried out by a healthcare professional. This will usually be a nurse, but it could also be a doctor, pharmacist or healthcare assistant. The check takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

You'll 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'll have a small sample 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 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 about 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'll 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'll 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'll also be given a copy for your records.

Read more about your NHS Health Check results.

Page last reviewed: 01/11/2016
Next review due: 01/11/2019