As we get older, we have a higher risk of developing conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, stroke and dementia. But help is at hand – a free NHS health check can spot early signs and help prevent them from happening to you, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy a healthier, longer life.
The One You Plymouth programme, delivered by Livewell Southwest’s Wellbeing Team, offers people aged between 40 and 74 the opportunity to give themselves a mini-MOT as well as offering support to people to make small changes now which will make a big difference later in life.
Having recently turned 40, Lisa from Livewell Southwest’s Communications Team decided to take advantage of this free offer and underwent an NHS health check with Health Improvement Practitioner Susie Pine. As a registered nurse, Susie is passionate about supporting people to live healthier lives and took Lisa through a 30 minute appointment which was fast, friendly, virtually painless and very illuminating. Looking at Lisa’s BMI, diet and activity levels while testing her pulse rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, Susie was able to calculate both her heart age and her risk score for the likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years and offered tailored advice on the changes that Lisa could make to lower her risks.
Lisa said, “I’ve never had a health check before and while it highlighted some areas that I already know I need to work on – particularly my activity levels as I am desk-bound for most of my work day and sofa-bound for most of my evenings – it also made me aware of some of the risks I didn’t know about. I’ve never had my cholesterol checked before, and my results have made me realise that my fondness for ready salted crisps should probably be scaled back a little!
“While I’m in the low risk category for drinking, Susie explained how many of the people who are high risk are the middle aged who enjoy a glass of wine with their meals and are going over their recommended units without realising, which I found really interesting.
“I also found the NHS Health Check QRISK calculator very useful. Susie tells me I currently have a heart age of 44, but she’s shown me how even one change – such as quitting smoking – can shave years from that score. She’s also given me some really useful information on dietary changes I could make and some of the apps that are available from One You Plymouth to help as well as the other services provided by the team such as their healthy walks, and I fully intend to try out some of this support in the near future.”
Susie said, “The NHS Health Check programme is focussed on making small changes to avoid problems later on in life, and our results sheet makes it easy to see which areas you need to work on. The One You Plymouth team can help support people to make those changes.
“We hold regular clinics throughout the city where eligible people can receive their health checks. Take a look at www.oneyouplymouth.co.uk or call 01752 437177 to find out more and book your appointment.”