- Family Health

The Importance Of A General Health Check

There’s nothing more important in life than your health. We all know that we should take good care of ourselves, eat better and get more exercise. Yet we don’t always heed our own advice. Amongst hectic work schedules and packed family life, it’s hard to squeeze it all in. One thing that you can make time for, however, is an annual check up. A bodily MOT with your GP that will help keep you in good shape.


At an annual check up, your GP will run a series of health tests to gauge the condition of your body. They will check that all vital organs are functioning correctly. They’ll also spot any potential problems early. Some of the procedures may be a little invasive, but it’s worth it to ensure your full health. Not all health conditions present visible symptoms and you may have trouble spotting the signs. In some cases, there are no symptoms at all. You may feel fine and healthy, but deep down there could be underlying issues. A regular health check will help find these underlying problems.

On a less serious note, these checkups are important for your day to day life. Your GP will take a series of notes and measurements. They will then give you advice and suggestions based on your lifestyle. This could involve a slight change in diet or increase in exercise. They’ll be on hand to help you make the adaptations and changes. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the key tests your GP will do.

Blood pressure test and pulse monitor

A doctor can tell a lot about your body and lifestyle from the simple flow of your blood. Your pulse rate explains many things to your physician. They are checking for a few things when it comes to your pulse. That includes the rate, the strength and the rhythm. A healthy pulse will be strong, regular and between 60-70 beats per minute. A higher heart rate suggests a level of unfitness. It could also point to bigger problems like cardiovascular disease. It’s a similar story with blood pressure. High blood pressure can be the result of poor or failing arteries. Your GP will advise a course of medicine and change of diet to address this.

Urine test

The urine test is a necessary one when it comes to vital health checks. It tells your doctor how well your organs are functioning. From this small sample, doctors can see any problems with the kidneys and other organs. It can also point towards a chronic disease like diabetes. You may not have any symptoms yet, but a doctor will pick up the early signs using this sample. It can also hint at an underlying infection within your body. All of which need to be dealt with immediately.

Blood test

As well as testing your pulse and blood pressure, doctors may also draw a sample of your blood. Those with a fear of needles may find this test difficult, but rest assured, it is very important. The process of drawing blood from the vein is called a phlebotomy. For more information, and a little reassurance, visit The makeup of your blood is an important indicator of your health. It is made up of white cells, haemoglobin and platelets. A high or low level of any of these can indicate a serious health problem.


Your GP will also take this opportunity to take your measurements. They will register your height, weight and body mass index (BMI). At this point they may ask you some questions about your lifestyle. This section is designed to learn a bit more about your life and the effect on your body. They will use these measurements and information to suggest adaptations. This could be with regard to your diet or exercise routine. They may offer you help here with making the changes.


Your doctor will take the chance to look at your record and ensure your vaccinations are up to date. If they are not, you may receive any vaccinations you’re due. There may also have been new regulations or immunisations that are now relevant to you. Sometimes you will receive the jab then and there. Sometimes you’ll simply be scheduled for a vaccination at a later date.

Thyroid test

Your thyroid is the organ that produces hormones. It regulates and distributes your hormone level and you’ll probably have noticed any disruption. Common effects are mood swings and skin problems. Even without these symptoms, your doctor will do a check just to stay on top of it. The thyroid also helps regulate your metabolism. If there are any problems here your body may have difficulty digesting food or using energy.

Respiratory test

One of the most important tests is to check your airways and breathing. A respiratory test will check the performance and efficiency of the lungs and airways. The most common problem here is asthma. It can be exacerbated by a cold or flu. This check is particularly important around the winter months. If you’re at all worried, get it checked before the cold months kick in.

Anaemia test

If you have been feeling faint recently, it may be a result of anaemia. Loss of energy or constant tiredness may also point towards the condition. Mention this to your GP if it is something you have been struggling with. They will make sure that anaemia is screened during the blood test.

Heart test

If your doctor is concerned about your heart rate and pulse, they may order further tests on the heart. Your blood test may also shed light on a few underlying heart problems. The first step will be an ECG, an electrocardiogram. This tests the activity of your heart and can look deeper into problems.

Make sure a full body checkup is part of your routine. Nine times out of ten there will be no problems at all and you’ll walk away fine. However, it may help identify underlying problems and help you tackle them sooner. If nothing else, you’ll get a bit of dietary advice to put you on the right track.