People aged 40 and over are eligible for a free NHS health check and are being given a simple message – please take up the offer. The NHS Health Check programme, commissioned by Wiltshire Council and provided by local GP practices, helps to check people’s risk of developing life threatening conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia, as well as reducing the risk of having a stroke. Everyone between the ages of 40 and 74, who has not already been diagnosed with one of these conditions or is otherwise ineligible, is invited every five years to have a free NHS Health Check. The check only takes 20 minutes and people will be asked some simple questions related to their lifestyles along with some simple tests including blood pressure as well as an instant blood test to check cholesterol levels. The results will be discussed and further advice and support provided and should they be required, additional tests and referral to your GP. Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, said: “It doesn’t matter if you feel fit and healthy; these checks are an important way of checking that everything is ok. Many of the diseases they are checking for are silent with no obvious symptoms. If we can help prevent and manage illnesses and conditions at an early stage then lives can be saved and health services will be under less pressure. “So my advice is, if you get a letter offering you an NHS Health Check, then please book one.” In many cases, these conditions and illnesses are preventable by keeping at a healthy weight, eating healthily and being physically active. A lifestyle including a healthy diet and regular physical activity is the key, and simple changes such as walking more and cutting down on sugar can help make a big difference. For more information people should visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/nhshealthcheck.