An NHS Health Check can spot early signs of life-threatening and disabling conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, and can help to prevent these.
The interactive guide was developed by NHS Choices, which is managed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), in close collaboration with the NHS Health Check team at Public Health England.
It provides information on having an NHS Health Check and includes new videos and case studies and lists a variety of health and fitness apps and trackers designed to help people take control of their health.
Eligible adults in England aged 40 to 74 are invited to have a free NHS Health Check every five years. The check can detect early warning signs of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and other common causes of death and disability in the UK.
The NHS Health Check produces an action plan tailored to the user to help lower their risk of developing these conditions in later life.
The guide also features advice for the elderly on how to improve and maintain quality of life and encourages users (men in particular) to attend their NHS Health Check.
The NHS Health Check programme was launched in 2009 and is now delivered by all 152 local authorities across England. Uptake of the NHS Health Check in the eligible population is aimed to increase from 49 per cent to 66 per cent by the end of the current financial year.
Every year the NHS Health Check is expected to prevent 1,600 heart attacks and strokes, detect more than 20,000 cases of diabetes or kidney disease and save 650 lives.
Jamie Waterall, National Lead for the NHS Health Check Programme and part of Public Health England said:
“The NHS Health Check programme, which began in 2009, is now available for the first time across England. It is important that those eligible are aware of the benefits of the programme and the new interactive guide on NHS Choices will help people understand what the NHS Health Check is, and crucially, how it can help.”
Dr Dawn Harper, GP and TV medical presenter, encourages people to attend NHS Health Check and said, “My own dad was found to be borderline diabetic during his NHS Health Check. Although he was feeling well his blood test showed that if he didn’t do something now, he would become diabetic.”
Dr Harper added, “He’s a prime example of someone who was otherwise fit and not on medication, has always had quite low blood pressure, hasn’t smoked for 40 or 50 years, but was found to be glucose intolerant. The NHS Health Check gave him a wake-up call and his future’s very different.”
Ron Morris, aged 48 from Stoke-on-Trent, credits the NHS Health Check with saving his life. Ron was hospitalised after an NHS Health Check showed that his blood pressure was too high. Ron said, “It doesn’t take long and could save your life. As the nurse said to me that day, ‘stroke is called the silent killer for a reason’.”
Ron has since made changes to his diet and exercise regime, and he urges people to take advantage of their free NHS Health Check.
Further information is available from the NHS Health Check guide which is available at www.nhs.uk/nhshealthcheck on the NHS Choices website.
The HSCIC publish the Health Survey for England which provides data on obesity, smoking, drinking, physical activity and other public health issues.
The latest Health Survey for England is available at http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB13218
The guide to the NHS Health Check is launched in the same week as Diabetes UK’s annual Diabetes Week which begins Sunday 8thJune. HSCIC publishes several reports from its National Diabetes Audit programme, these can be found at http://www.hscic.gov.uk/nda