We can all hazard a guess as to how good or bad our overall health is.
If you eat a balanced diet, exercise often and generally feel well, then it’s likely you’re in good health. On the other hand, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, have a poor diet and smoke, you know you’re at greater risk of developing certain health issues.
When you apply for life insurance, you may be asked to complete a medical exam. But it is also worthwhile booking a medical check-up whether you are applying for insurance or not. So what happens during a medical check-up?
What does a health check-up test for?
The medical check-up determines your risk of developing a range of health problems, such as heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and diabetes. It also provides you with an opportunity to gain practical advice on how to minimise the risk of developing these issues.
Unfortunately, leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you won’t develop health issues, though it will limit your risk. A medical check-up can flag problems before they develop into something more serious.
What to expect from a medical health check
A health check from the NHS lasts around 20-30 minutes and is usually carried out by a nurse, but it could be another healthcare professional. You shouldn’t need to prepare anything in advance, but it’s always worth asking the health centre you’re booked in with.
During the check-up, you may be asked:
- If close relatives have had the illnesses you’re being assessed for
- If you smoke and how much
- If you drink alcohol and how much
- What your typical diet is like
- How much exercise you do
After this, you’ll undergo a series of simple tests and measurements, including:
- Your weight and height to determine your body mass index (BMI)
- Your waist may be measured
- Your blood pressure will be taken using a cuff on your upper arm
- A small sample of blood will be taken from your finger to check cholesterol and possibly blood sugar level
In most cases, you’ll receive the results immediately. You’ll be given a risk score (the higher the score the more likely you are to develop one of the illnesses) and will receive advice on how to adapt your lifestyle to lower risk.
What are the benefits of a medical check-up?
Aside from finding out more about your health, booking in for regular check-ups can improve your overall wellbeing.
A Bupa study* found that 80% of its patients change their lifestyles a little or a lot following an assessment, while 60% felt they were able to deal with stress better.
Over half (55%) also said that their sleep improved.
Meanwhile, the NHS predicts that, within the first five years of offering health checks, it prevented 2,500 strokes or heart attacks as the result of patients receiving treatment after their assessment.
Visit our Zurich life insurance page to find out more.
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This article was first published in November 2018