NHS Health Checks

Aged 40 – 74? Find out more about the free NHS Health Check

You may feel fine, but as we get older our chance of developing specific health conditions increases.

The aim of the NHS Health Check is to tell you if you are at higher risk of developing certain health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, or dementia.

Health checks are about prevention rather than treatment. Your NHS Health Check can detect potential health problems before they do real damage.

Having a free NHS Health Check in the community with Health Checks Oxfordshire or at your GP practice can help you stay healthy.

Am I eligible for a check?

There are two ways to know if you are eligible for an NHS Health Check.

  1. You can follow the link to Health Checks Oxfordshire, check if you are eligible, and register for a health check in the community.
  2. Your GP practice will invite you for your NHS Health Check if you are eligible. If you haven’t been invited but would like to have an NHS Health Check, contact your GP practice to find out if you qualify for one.

Check if you are eligible for a free health check

Can I get a check?

An NHS Health 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

If you have one of these conditions, you should have regular check-ups at your GP practice. Your healthcare team will be able to give you more information about this.

Why do I need one?

As we get older our risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia increases. There are also certain things that will put us at even greater risk. These are:

  • being overweight
  • being physically inactive
  • not eating healthily
  • smoking
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol.

What to expect at a check

Your health check will take around 20 to 30 minutes, you can expect

  • Your height, and weight measured, including your waist measurement
  • Your blood pressure taken
  • A simple blood test or a small blood sample taken from your finger will check your cholesterol level
  • And you’ll be asked if there is any family history of stroke, dementia, diabetes, or kidney disease. Whether you drink or smoke, how much exercise you do and about your diet.

There is no other physical examination, and you won’t be asked to remove any of your clothes or asked any questions you may find embarrassing.

What happens after the check?

Your health professional will discuss how you can reduce your risk and stay healthy.

  • You’ll be taken through your results and told what they mean. Some people may be asked to return at a later date for their results.
  • You’ll be given personalised advice on how to lower your risk and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Some people with raised blood pressure will have their kidneys checked through a blood test.
  • Some people may need to have another blood test to check for type 2 diabetes. Your health professional will be able to tell you more.
  • Treatment or medication may be prescribed to help you maintain your health.

Why 40 to 74 year olds?

Health checks are about prevention. The aim of the NHS Health Check is to spot any early signs in healthy people that could increase the risk of stroke, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes or dementia.

People who are under 40 generally have a much lower risk of getting these conditions, so checking people in this group would not be an effective way for the NHS to address these health problems.

Many people over 74 will already be under the care of their doctor for either a cardiovascular condition or other condition so will be regularly monitored by their GP