Why have an NHS Health Check? 

Dr Dawn Harper explains why going for your NHS Health Check is so important, and Ron describes how having one saved his life.

Find out more about the NHS Health Check

Transcript of Why have an NHS Health Check?


(man) You folks interested in a free NHS Health Check?

(woman) I'm quite pro the health check.

And I guess I have a very personal reason for that. My own dad...


..was found to be borderline diabetic on a health check.

He felt well, he went because he was invited.

I think that the health check has stopped from him becoming diabetic.

The NHS Health Check programme is all about trying to discover disease

before it becomes a problem.

The health check focuses on some of the really big killers in this country.

So heart disease, diabetes, stroke, dementia, kidney disease.

And what we're doing is, we know that in the early stages,

often there may not be many symptoms.

You may not know about your risk factors.

(man) I never smoked and didn't drink that much.


Did sport whenever I could, played golf.

Considered myself quite fit, really.

My father had a stroke when he was my age.

But I put that down to him being quite a bad smoker and a drinker as well.

And he never participated in sport.

So I thought I'd be well and truly out of the woods, so to speak.

What you will find is, you'll be asked some questions about your lifestyle.

Your smoking history and how much you drink will definitely be on the agenda.

You will be weighed and measured.

You may have your waist circumference measured

because we know that weight around your midriff is a big risk factor.

And you may need blood tests on top of that.

My cholesterol was 4.4, which put me in a good mood.

So we then moved on to the blood pressure test,

which seemed to struggle to get a reading off the machines.

And eventually, the result came through.

And it was something like 273 over 191.

I didn't really know what a good blood pressure was.

But when I saw the nurse's face, she was horrified.

I think that rammed it home to me that something was seriously wrong with me.

I was admitted into the hospital. Straight away, I was put onto a drip.

Because the readings...

I think every doctor and nurse that saw the readings had a reaction of,

"Wow! OK, let's sort this out."

I remember my father having his stroke

because I was at home, studying for my O levels at the time.

And it wasn't nice.

And I don't think my father ever recovered from having that stroke.

Since my experience,

the men at work have put themselves forward for health checks.

There's about four that have gone for it now

that are in the 40 age bracket.

If we do get them through the door,

and if we can get them to come for a health check,

they are often really good at making those lifestyle changes

and, certainly, we have seen big weight loss, or giving up cigarettes,

possibly more often in men than in women.

I was a walking stroke/heart attack victim waiting to happen.

I've got three children. I think I need to be there for them.

And 48 is certainly no age to have a stroke, like my father did.

Make the phone call straight away and it could save your life.

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO www.nhs.uk/nhshealthcheck


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What is an NHS Health Check?

Aged 40-74? The NHS Health Check is your chance to get your free midlife MOT. Find out how to get yours