Whatever your age, there’ll be something in Healthchat to enable you to make informed decisions about your health that feel right for you.
In the first Healthchat, we look at the regular heath checks that you and your family can have on the NHS, usually via your GP. These act as an early warning system for common health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis.
Timeline to good health
All parents are offered a “head to toe” physical examination for their new baby at birth and six to eight weeks later. This includes a hearing test and a blood test to check for inherited disorders such as cystic fibrosis. Learn more about newborn screening here.
At key milestones, such as starting school, parents are offered further checks to ensure their child is developing normally, with no growth, weight, vision or hearing problems. Learn more about childhood checks here.
Chlamydia screening: men and women who are sexually active and under the age of 25 can get a chlamydia test annually or when they change their sexual partner. This checks for a common bacterial infection that can be effectively treated with antibiotics. Without treatment, it can lead to infertility.
Cervical screening: from 25-64, all women are offered cervical screening on the NHS – every three years from 25-49 and every five years from 50-64. Cervical screening checks for pre-cancerous changes in a woman’s cervix, so they can be treated before they can become cancerous. Find out about cervical screening here.
Glaucoma: anyone over 40 should have a regular eye test for glaucoma – gradual loss of vision due to a build up of pressure in the eye – and those with a parent, brother, sister or child with glaucoma can get it free. If discovered early, glaucoma can be treated before sight is lost. Find out about glaucoma screening here.
Midlife MOT: adults living in England aged 40-74 with no pre-existing condition can have an NHS Health Check at their GP practice to find out their risk of circulatory problems that could lead to a heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes or kidney disease. It includes checks on your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level. From your MOT results, your GP can calculate whether your need treatment. Learn about the Midlife MOT here.
Breast cancer screening: every three years after their 50th birthday all women are invited for a mammogram to check for early signs of breast cancer. Screening continues every three years up to the age of 70, though women can request screening every three years after that time. The NHS breast screening programme is being extended to women aged 47-73 years. Learn more about breast cancer screening here.
Prostate cancer testing: there is no national screening programme for prostate cancer but middle aged and older men may want to talk to their GP about having a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test free on the NHS. As a raised PSA may be due to a non cancerous condition – not just prostate cancer – other tests are needed. Prostate cancer is uncommon in men under 50 years old, so it is usually older men who have a PSA test. Learn more about Prostate cancer testing here.
Bowel cancer screening: if you are aged 60-69, you will automatically be sent a test kit through the post every two years. Over 69s can also request a test. You just collect a small faecal sample and send it to a lab where it is checked for signs of blood, as this can be an early sign of bowel cancer.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening: men over 65 can request an ultrasound scan, free on the NHS, to check for weakness or bulging in the main artery of the body, the aorta. If AAA is left untreated, the aorta may burst which can be fatal. To access AAA screening in your
Find out about screening where you live here.
Extra help at any age
Accessible medical advice: whatever your age, you can always discuss any medical concerns with a health professional at your GP, hospital or NHS walk-in centre. For Aviva Healthier Solutions customers, professional advice is available immediately and conveniently through a 24-hour GP helpline.
Stress counselling: if you need help coping with stress at any time of life, counselling and advice is available through your GP. Aviva Healthier Solutions customers aged over 16 can access stress counselling at any time, through a 24 hour stress counselling helpline.