The NHS Health Check programme aims to help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia. Everyone between the ages of 40 and 74, who has not already been diagnosed with one of these conditions or have certain risk factors, will be invited (once every five years) to have a check and assess their risk of these diseases. The programme then works to give them support and advice to help reduce or manage that risk.
As we get older we are all at a higher risk of developing something dangerous to our health, such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. NHS health checks should be seen as a sort of free midlife MOT that can spot any early signs and therefore potentially prevent these happening to you. With the advice and support offered you can lower your risk, improve your vascular health, and hopefully it will allow you to enjoy a longer and fuller life.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) in particular is a major cause of death and disability in the UK, and also happens to be one of the biggest contributors to inequalities. Huge strides have been made in the prevention and treatment of CVD over the last decade, and by improving the efficiency of NHS health checks we hope to continue this trend and improve the overall cardiovascular health of the UK public.
A Department of Health statistical model estimated that NHS Health Checks would prevent 1,600 heart attacks and strokes, at least 650 premature deaths, and over 4,000 new cases of diabetes each year. Not to mention the potential benefits that come from having a health check where no problems are found. For instance, the health check may lead to greater awareness and discussion of a person’s BMI, diet, cholesterol, physical activity, smoking and alcohol intake. This could lead to the person making healthy lifestyle changes that could then decrease their risk of actually developing these chronic diseases.
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