Have you ever thought of doing a private health check or health assessment? It’s not a bad idea actually, especially if you are over 30 years old. As we get older we are more likely to suffer from various health issues and conditions. Some of these conditions come with no symptoms, for example, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even diabetes. This is why preventive health screenings are so important.
What is a health screening or health assessment?
A health screening is a range of health tests and checks which help you determine a current state of your health. The results will point out any areas of concern and you will also get a qualified advice about the things you can do to improve your health.
You can have a really comprehensive and detailed health screening which can check for things like heart disease, cancer, kidney disease and lung health. You may not need all these tests, it really depends on your lifestyle and your genes. Sometimes a basic health check is all you need.
The most important health checks
These are the most important things you want to get tested for first:
- your blood pressure
- your cholesterol levels
- your glucose levels
These are basic but really important health tests. High blood pressure often comes with no symptoms and if you unknowingly have it, you have a high risk of stroke or heart attack.
More than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure. Are you one of them?
High cholesterol increases your risk of serious health conditions so it’s important to know whether your cholesterol is normal.
High glucose levels in your blood may indicate you have diabetes or prediabetes.
Diabetes can cause serious long-term health problems. It’s the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people of working age so it’s important to get diagnosed early to begin the treatment.
If you think you are too young to get any of these health conditions, think again. High blood pressure affects one in ten women in their 20s and just over one in ten men aged 25-34 years.
High cholesterol can affect anyone regardless of age, even kids get it so don’t you think you should know your numbers?
Where to get tested
For basic health checks, you should get in touch with your GP and see what free tests you can get through NHS (in the UK).
If you are between 40-74 old (without pre-existing condition) you are entitled to a free NHS Health Check. You can have this test every five years and if you’re registered with a GP, you should automatically get an invitation to it.
The NHS Health Check takes about 20-30 minutes and it includes the following checks:
- your body mass index (BMI)
- your blood pressure
- your cholesterol level
- your alcohol use score
- your physical activity assessment
- your diabetes risk assessment
If you are over 40 and haven’t had this free health check done yet, you should definitely get in touch with your GP. You have nothing to lose.
Free NHS health check is great but here is where it’s lacking:
- it’s not available to those between 20-40 who can still have health issues
- you can only do one free health check every five years (shouldn’t older people have more health checks??)
- no cancer risk assessment
- no tests to uncover cancer (cancer rates are on the rise)
- very basic
It’s understandable, you cannot get much for free, right? So this is where private health checks come into play.
Private health checks
Comparing to NHS, private health check providers offer a variety of packages, depending on your personal circumstances. If you worry about cancer because of your family history, you can arrange for a health screening which will focus on that. If there is a heart disease in your family you can buy a special package which will focus on your cardiovascular health.
There is all kind of packages available and the one you pick really depends on your budget and your health concerns.
Private health check providers
Here are some of the most popular providers which offer health screenings:
- Nuffield Health
- BMI Healthcare
I am not sure which provider is the best but I had a health screening done through Bluecrest recently and I wrote about my experience in this post.
Have you ever had a private health check done or would you consider one?