Home Health Health checks effective at diagnosing hidden illness

Health checks effective at diagnosing hidden illness

by Lisa Bennett

Residents aged 40-74 are being urged to take up the offer a free NHS health check which could help to spot potentially life-threatening and undiagnosed illnesses.

Over the last two years, almost 7,500 Knowsley residents have had a health check at their GP with almost 1,700 of those being diagnosed with conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. In many cases these conditions do not display any symptoms meaning people may be completely unaware they have them.

By spotting these issues at their health check, residents are then able to make lifestyle changes or go on medication to manage their condition and help reduce their risk of serious illness further down the line.

Cllr Chris Bannon, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Health said:

“These health checks really are an incredibly effective way of spotting issues or risks early. Ultimately, they also give people the opportunity to reduce the risk of serious illness in the longer term. Anyone over the age of 40 is eligible and it’s a really simple and proactive thing we can all do to protect our health. I would urge anyone who is eligible to contact their GP to arrange theirs – it could be a simple step that could save your life!”

During the pandemic the number of health checks carried out reduced significantly, so clinicians in Knowsley have been working hard to catch up. Between April 2021 and March 2023, 7,398 checks have been carried out in Knowsley with 1,947 heart, cardiovascular or cardiorenal metabolic conditions identified in 1,670 patients.

That means that around 23% of all health checks in Knowsley over the last 2 years has successfully picked up new or undiagnosed conditions, which can be treated immediately. The most common conditions diagnosed include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease and diabetes.

The NHS health check is offered to everyone aged 40 to 74 years old and it will take around 20-30 minutes.

The health professional – often a nurse or healthcare assistant – will ask you some questions about your lifestyle and family history, measure your height and weight, and take your blood pressure and do a blood test. The blood test will be done either before the check with a blood sample from your arm, or at the check. Your blood test results can show your chances of getting heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes within the next 10 years.

If you’re over 65, you will also be told the signs and symptoms of dementia to look out for.

You will then receive personalised advice to improve your risk. This could include talking about how to improve your diet and the amount of physical activity you do, taking medicines to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol or how to lose weight or stop smoking.

Contact your GP today to make an appointment for a health check.