Tests and Results

Understanding Health Check Results

When you have an NHS Health Check at the surgery you will be given the results along with other information and guidance regarding your health and well-being. Guidance in how you interpret the information you have been given as a result of your health check can be found below.  Further information is available online at the NHS website.

Test results

 

Blood test

Blood Tests

A blood test is when a sample of blood is taken for testing in a laboratory. Blood tests have a wide range of uses and are one of the most common types of medical test. For example, a blood test can be used to:

  • assess your general state of health
  • confirm the presence of a bacterial or viral infection
  • see how well certain organs, such as the liver and kidneys, are functioning

A blood test usually involves the phlebotomist taking a blood sample from a blood vessel in your arm and the usual place for a sample is the inside of the elbow or wrist, where the veins are relatively close to the surface. Blood samples from children are most commonly taken from the back of the hand. The child's hand will be anaesthetised (numbed) with a special cream before the sample is taken.

You can find out more about blood tests, their purpose and the way they are performed on the NHS website.

 

X-Ray

An X-ray is a widely used diagnostic test to examine the inside of the body. X-rays are a very effective way of detecting problems with bones, such as fractures. They can also often identify problems with soft tissue, such as pneumonia or breast cancer.

If you have a X-ray, you will be asked to lie on a table or stand against a surface so that the part of your body being X-rayed is between the X-ray tube and the photographic plate.

An X-ray is usually carried out by a radiographer, a healthcare professional who specialises in using imaging technology, such as X-rays and ultrasound scanners.

You can find out more about x-ray tests, how they are performed, their function and the risks by visiting the NHS website.

X-ray

 

Understanding your NHS health check results

Overall risk score

A tool called Qrisk uses the information from your health check to work out your overall risk of developing a heart or circulation problem in the next 10 years. See QRISK for more details.

These scores can be thought of as:

  • less than 10% - low risk
  • 10-20% - moderate risk
  • over 20% - high risk

Whilst everyone can benefit from a healthy lifestyle, if you are in the moderate or high risk groups, it would be worth thinking about any changes you can make to reduce your risk. If you would like further advice on this, then please book a ‘Health Check’ appointment with our nursing team.

The latest advice is that people who are unable to reduce their risk score to less than 10% with lifestyle change should consider taking medication known as statins to lower their cholesterol. This would translate into 80% of men over 50, and 55% of women over 60 taking statins. At a risk score of 10%, 167 people would need to take a statin for 5 years to prevent one of them having a heart attack. At a risk score of 20%, 67 people would need to be treated for 5 years to prevent one heart attack. Our nursing team would be happy to talk this through with you if you would like help to decide whether to start taking statins.

If you are in the high risk group (risk score over 20%) we would encourage you to come for a yearly health check with our nurses so that we can keep an eye on your health.

Blood pressure

When your blood pressure is measured, you'll get two results:

  • a big number – indicating the pressure when your heart pumps blood out (known as systolic blood pressure)
  • a smaller number – indicating the pressure when your heart rests (diastolic blood pressure)

Normal blood pressure is between 90/60 and 140/90. If your blood pressure is above 140/90, it may just be a one-off, but you should have some further readings to check this. You can do this either by borrowing a blood pressure machine from reception or buying your own monitor, to do a week of home readings, or coming to see our nurses to fit a blood pressure monitor that will take regular readings through a day.

BMI

Your BMI (body mass index) is a measure of your weight related to your height. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 25. A BMI of above 25 is classed as overweight, and above 30 is classed as obese, indicating significant risks to your health. If you would like advice and support in managing your weight, our nurses would be happy to discuss this with you.

Cholesterol

You will have 2 numbers:

  • Total cholesterol – this should ideally be below 5 (two thirds of the population are above this)
  • Cholesterol:HDL ratio – this should ideally be below 4.

Our nurses can discuss changes that you can make to lower your cholesterol. Whether you should consider taking statins to lower your cholesterol is largely based on your overall risk score (see the section above). However, if your cholesterol is above 7.5, you should arrange a review with your GP irrespective of your risk score as you may have a familial condition causing high cholesterol.

HbA1c

If your BMI is above 30, you will have had a check of your sugar levels (HbA1c) to assess your risk of current or future diabetes.

A normal HbA1c is below 42, borderline is 42 – 48 (known as prediabetes), and a value over 48 may indicate diabetes.

If your HbA1c is over 48, we would recommend coming to see our diabetes nurse. If you are borderline, we would recommend seeing any of our nurses for further advice, and having a yearly check, as a proportion of people in the borderline range will progress on to developing diabetes.

Alcohol

If initial questions showed any significant alcohol intake, you will have been asked a more detailed alcohol use questionnaire. An alcohol use score of 7 if you are a woman and 8 if you are a man would indicate that you are drinking an amount of alcohol that is likely to be harming your health.

If you score 20 or more, you may well have an alcohol dependence disorder (alcoholism).
Our nurses can discuss ways of reducing your alcohol intake and let you know about other local services available that can help.