The Heart Age test gives you an idea of what your heart age is compared to your real age. You’ll also find out:
- the number of extra years you can give your heart age by making some healthy lifestyle changes
- the importance of blood pressure and cholesterol levels in estimating your heart age
- how to improve your heart age by eating better and moving more
This test is suitable for anyone aged 30 to 95. It is not suitable for anyone with a condition that affects their heart or blood vessels (a cardiovascular disease). By taking the Heart Age test you agree to the terms and conditions
Blood pressure and high cholesterol
Blood pressure is a measure of the force that your heart uses to pump blood around your body. If your blood pressure is too high on a regular basis, this means that your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body.
High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. Too much cholesterol can block your blood vessels. It makes you more likely to have heart problems or a stroke.
We’ll be asking you details about your medical history, including your:
- blood pressure
If you do not have your blood pressure or cholesterol details, you can still take the test, but the results will be more accurate if you’re able to supply them.
Benefits of an NHS Health Check
The tests work
The tests that form part of the NHS Health Check have been proven by large, long-term studies to be able to detect serious health problems and work out your risk of getting these problems.
Knowing your risk factors helps you
Finding out you have a risk factor for a health condition can be really helpful because you can take action to improve your health.
For example, if you find out your blood pressure is too high, you can make lifestyle changes to lower it, such as:
It may also prevent cancer and respiratory illness
The NHS Health Check is mainly aimed at lowering your risk of getting cardiovascular illnesses (diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels) such as heart disease and stroke.
But the risk factors for heart disease and stroke are often the same as risk factors for other conditions, including preventable cancers and respiratory illness. So the NHS Health Check could reduce your chance of getting certain cancers and respiratory illness too.
You get a one-to-one health chat
The NHS Health Check gives you an opportunity to sit down with a health professional and talk about your health.
There’s good evidence that spending time with a doctor or another healthcare professional to discuss exercise and other lifestyle issues can have real long-term benefits.
Risks of having an NHS Health Check
Too much or too little treatment
There has been concern that the NHS Health Check could potentially lead to over- or under-treatment.
The cardiovascular risk score you are given at the end of your Health Check is only an estimate of how likely you are to get certain illnesses in the future.
While the chances are small, an inaccurate risk score may mean that you receive treatment you do not really need. Or, it could mean that you do not get the treatment you could benefit from.
Does the NHS Health Check save lives?
There is discussion about how many lives are saved and how much disability is reduced by the NHS Health Check.
We do not yet know whether NHS Health Checks save lives, but the latest research suggests:
- for every 30 to 40 people having an NHS Health Check, 1 person is diagnosed with high blood pressure
- for every 80 to 200 people having a Health Check, 1 person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
- for every 6 to 10 people having a Health Check, 1 person is identified as being at high risk of cardiovascular disease
Furthermore, these problems were successfully found almost 3 times as often in people who had an NHS Health Check than in those who did not.
Balancing the pros and cons
The NHS Health Check is routinely offered free of charge to eligible people because it’s believed the potential benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
By picking up hidden health problems and tackling them early, you will live longer and in better health.
The older you are the higher your risk, so you could benefit more from attending your NHS Health Check appointment.
On balance, having the NHS Health Check is much safer than not having it.
- Find out what to expect on the day of your NHS Health Check
- Find out more about what your NHS Health Check results mean