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Time for a health check?

When everything is going well, having a health check or blood test might not seem like a top priority. But how do you know when it is time for a health check?

You may think you need to be a certain age or have a pre-existing condition to have a general health check or routine blood test. However, your blood health can tell you a lot about your overall health, whether you are experiencing symptoms or not.

We look at the benefits of having a regular annual health check.

What is a health check?

A general or annual health check can help see if you are at risk of, or have, a disease or condition. Health checks are used as a preventative health measure and can look at your lifestyle, family history, height, weight, and blood biomarkers.

Blood health checks and tests can give a current overview of your health and wellbeing. They can include tests for thyroid, liver and kidney function, hormones and vitamins and minerals to help identify health risks like diabetes or heart disease so you can take steps to improve your health.

How often should I have a health check?

Some tests should be done as soon as possible, like if you think you have an infection, condition or if you're experiencing symptoms. Once they’re done, and the infection or condition has been ruled out, there’s no reason for you to repeat that test any time soon.

For most healthy people, checks are advisable to keep on top of your healthcare. You can do this by monitoring your diet and lifestyle, key measurements like your weight and waist circumference and by monitoring your blood biomarkers.

An annual blood health check can help you to:

  • Identify what is normal for you.
  • Track changes over time.
  • Understand if any biomarkers are not within the healthy range.
  • Change your diet and lifestyle to help prevent lifestyle-related diseases.
  • Get peace of mind as you move through different life stages.

What happens during a blood test?

With Medichecks, you can choose to give a blood sample by finger-prick, by going to one of our partner clinics or by having a nurse visit you at home.

After taking your blood sample, either through a finger-prick test or by a nurse drawing blood from a vein in your arm, you or the nurse will post it in the priority post box to be examined by the lab. Your results will be available on your online portal once they are ready. They will show you whether any of your biomarkers are out of the healthy range and come with doctors' comments on what steps you should take next.

At what age should I have a health check?

Blood health checks and blood tests are suitable for adults of any age. As you go through life, you may have different priorities or areas of focus.

A health check can help you in your: 

  • 20s – discover your fitness baseline and understand what 'normal' looks like for you. This can help you enhance your sports performance or identify your risk of lifestyle-related diseases and check your liver and kidney health.  
  • 30s –check on your hormones. Even a minimal imbalance in your hormone levels can have an impact on your health, affecting your mood and energy levels as well as fertility and libido. 
  • 40s –investigate any causes of feeling tired all the time, low energy, or mood such as low testosterone, a thyroid condition and identify perimenopause.  
  • 50s –investigate health conditions like menopause, gout, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Equally, it can give you peace of mind that everything is okay.  
  • 60+ -health checks can become your health MOT. Make sure that everything is in good working order and identify any risk factors or conditions early. 

If you’re between 40 and 74, you are eligible for a free NHS Health Check once every five years. This involves looking at your smoking status, blood pressure, levels of physical activity, history of vascular disease in the family and blood test for cholesterol and diabetes [1].

Annual health check FAQs

What do annual blood tests check for?

Annual blood tests can help you to identify certain health risks or check if you have anaemia, nutritional deficiencies, an infection or a concern with your liver, thyroid, or kidney function.

Read our six reasons to have a health check and the related tests.

Is a finger-prick test as accurate as a venous blood draw?

Finger-prick samples are as accurate as venous samples, provided they are collected correctly, and you take an adequate volume. There are some tests where a venous sample is required, which is why some tests are not available as a finger-prick option.

Read more about how to use home blood tests to manage your health from home.

What is a venous blood sample?

A venous blood sample means that blood is taken from a vein in your arm. Many Medichecks tests can are through a finger-prick sample, but there are some tests where the laboratory needs more blood and, therefore, need a venous sample.

With Medichecks, you can arrange for a venous sample to be taken at one of our partner clinics or have a nurse visit you at your home. Have a look at how to prepare for collecting a venous blood sample.

What can blood tests detect?

Reasons to get a blood test can vary from a routine or general health check to monitoring or investigating a disease or condition. In some cases, a blood test can check that nothing has changed since your last healthy test result.

Here’s a list of the range of blood tests that are on offer.

 


References

1. https://www.england.nhs.uk/blog/matt-kearney-8/