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Online health assessment

Where can I get an online health assessment and what are the benefits?

28 March 2019

First let’s start with the second part of your question

Benefits of having a health assessment – whether in person or online

Health assessments, or screenings as they are sometimes called, give you a better understanding of your health and your future health risks – based on where you’re at now, your lifestyle and your family medical history. In turn this can help you:

  • manage or treat an existing health condition, which even if it isn’t serious may be stopping you living your life to the full

  • detect common risk factors such as high blood pressure and raised cholesterol, which typically come with no symptoms, but which if left untreated can lead to serious health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke

  • catch potentially life threatening conditions, including some forms of cancer, in the early stages when they are easier to treat

  • identify lifestyle changes (e.g. eating and drinking more healthily, stopping smoking, incorporating more activity into your daily routine) that could deliver significant long term improvements to your health and wellbeing over your lifetime.

In short, health assessments give you better control over your own health; providing the opportunity to boost your overall wellbeing, help prevent the onset of disease and improve your quality of life for the longer term.

Potential downsides of having a health assessment

As with most things there are some potential negatives to consider before going ahead with a health assessment.

For example, finding out you have a health condition or an increased risk of developing a serious condition in the future can cause anxiety, particularly if it’s something you can’t control, such as an hereditary condition, or if you find yourself struggling to make the lifestyle changes recommended.

On the other hand some people may consider a good overall risk score as a green light to carry on as they are even if some individual risk factors are flagged up, e.g. they’re overweight or have high cholesterol and have been advised to change their diet or increase activity.

Finally, not all of the growing number of health checks available are as accurate or appropriate as you’d hope. And online – or remote – services can pose a particular risk so it’s important to be absolutely sure of who you’re dealing with and what the tests are designed to tell you before you part with your cash – or any bodily fluids!

Is an online health check right for me?

Ultimately it’s up to you to weigh up the benefits against the possible drawbacks of having a health assessment. One place to start is to ask yourself why you’re considering it.

If you’ve been invited to have an NHS health check it means you’re at a stage in life where finding out your risk factors for a range of conditions (some of which are undetectable without testing) is considered expedient for the sake of managing your health going forward. The check is free, the tests are proven and subject to the considerations outlined above it’s usually a good idea to take up the offer.

If you’re not yet eligible for a free NHS health check or want the convenience of not having to attend in person (unless you choose to visit a clinic to provide a blood sample rather than using a self-testing kit), an online health assessment may be appropriate. And if you’re interested in improving your health and motivated to make whatever changes may be called for it could be the start of a better, fuller, healthier – and potentially longer –  life.

Next steps

Our articles on health checks provides a useful overview of the sorts of tests available both face-to-face and online.

Answered by the Health at Hand team.

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