6.8 million people have taken advantage of a free NHS Health Check over the last five years, however, another 8.7 million have so far missed out on the check, according to a new report.
The NHS Health Check is available to people aged between 40 and 74. The check includes answering some simple questions, having height, weight and waist circumference measured, having blood pressure taken and giving a sample of blood.
The check helps to assess whether people have, or are at risk of, a number of conditions that are relatively common in people over 40. These conditions include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia.
Some of these conditions can develop without presenting obvious symptoms and the health check helps to spot these conditions at an early stage. The tests also helps to show whether you are at higher risk of developing any of these conditions in future. The checks can therefore be very useful for people to improve their health and prevent the conditions, including type 2 diabetes, from developing.
The analysis, which was carried out by charity Diabetes UK, showed that there is regional variation of in the numbers of people receiving the health checks across the country. For example, attendance was at 50% in the East of England, but significantly lower in the South West at 35%. Walsall has helped 99% of eligible people receive the health check, whereas only 18% of people eligible have received the check in East Riding of Yorkshire and in Croydon.
Robin Hewings, Head of Policy at Diabetes UK, said: “The success of the programme in certain areas is due to local councils working hard to make it easier for people to attend these free health checks that only take 15 minutes and can help keep people healthy.”
The charity is urging local authorities to take more action to encourage more people to receive the health check. There are over 12 million people that have an increased risk of diabetes.
If you are at high risk of diabetes or have been newly diagnosed with the condition, there is a lot of hope and tackling lifestyle changes early can make a huge difference towards improving your health.
For this reason, Diabetes.co.uk has developed the very successful Low Carb Program which has helped thousands of people to improve their overall health. Many people with diabetes have been able to come off some of their diabetes medications as a result of improved blood sugar control and many people at risk of type 2 diabetes have been able to lose weight and reduce their risk of developing diabetes.