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Important over-75 health checks that can be lifesaving

Explore lifesaving over-75 health checks and help detect early signs of serious conditions for your elderly loved ones.

July 01, 2024

Elderly patient getting their over 75s health check up

As part of the ageing process, our risk levels for developing some conditions and illnesses can increase naturally. However, by taking a proactive approach to health in later life, we can help older loved ones maintain their overall wellbeing and potentially spot early signs of serious health conditions before they progress.

In today’s article, we’ll explore the important over-75 health checks that can be lifesaving, enhancing the quality of life for your elderly loved ones while helping them stay as well as possible.

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Over-75 health checks NHS

The NHS health check is a free check-up of overall health, helping medical professionals reveal whether the older individual is at higher risk of getting certain health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or stroke

NHS health check is dedicated to people aged between 40 and 74 without any pre-existing health condition, with check-up invitations being sent out every five years.

However, when you turn 75, your GP will invite you to a senior health check, designed by the NHS to monitor and maintain the optimal health of elderly individuals. From managing existing conditions to catching potential issues in their early stages, these checks are vital to remaining proactive about seniors’ health and enhancing the life quality of our elderly loved ones.


Blood pressure test

Elderly patient getting their blood pressure checked

The blood pressure test is one of the most important over-75 health checks, monitoring how the blood flow presses against artery walls while helping spot the signs of various cardiovascular diseases.

In fact, around one in three adults in the UK suffers from high blood pressure, and the first signs of this condition can appear in people from their thirties onwards, but the risk does increase with age. Therefore, making sure your elderly loved ones take a regular blood pressure test is particularly important to help detect chronic diseases such as: 

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart valve problems
  • Heart failure 

Blood pressure is typically tested using an arm cuff and a gauge and measured in two figures: systolic and diastolic pressure. If your results fall outside of the normal range of blood pressure, your GP will suggest several more checks to monitor the condition and if needed, advise on appropriate treatment.

Cholesterol test

Like abnormal blood pressure can indicate various cardiovascular diseases, raised cholesterol rates in your blood can also be a sign of serious health issues and can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

For individuals aged 75 and over, it’s crucial to take a cholesterol test regularly, as the signs of increased levels can be very subtle or none and it might not be easy to spot the condition without taking a blood test. Cholesterol can be tested by a GP or a local pharmacist, who will either take a blood sample from the vein or carry out a finger-prick test.

Elevated cholesterol levels are very common among elderly people, putting them at a higher risk of developing more serious cardiovascular diseases. If the GP detects an issue with your elderly loved one’s cholesterol levels, they will develop a tailored treatment plan to manage the condition, including lifestyle and dietary changes as well as appropriate medication, if needed.

Diabetes screening

Elderly woman doing a diabetes test at home

Taking a blood test can also help medical professionals detect unusual levels of blood sugar, which can be an indicator of type 2 diabetes, especially in the case of elderly individuals.

The population of elderly patients with diabetes is growing over time, posing a range of serious health challenges such as heart attacks, strokes or kidney failure. With people aged over 75 being at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it’s particularly important to make sure your elderly loved ones take necessary checks, enabling this condition to be detected as early as possible.

When undergoing diabetes screening, a person might be asked to fast for 8-12 hours to make sure the results are as accurate as possible. Afterwards, a health professional will take a blood sample from a vein, which will be analysed in a lab to measure sugar levels.

Based on the screening results, your GP or other medical professional will explain the necessary steps to take to manage your glucose levels and prevent the development of more serious health risks.


Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening is a quick, painless test that checks for a bulge or swelling in the aorta, the main vein going from the heart through the abdomen. If not treated early enough, the swelling could lead to a possible burst, putting an individual in a life-threatening situation.

In the UK, this check is commonly offered to men aged 65 and over, as this type of aneurysm is mostly seen in men.

If the screening detects any issue, a medical professional will then recommend further tests and appropriate treatment.

Cancer screenings

Early detection of cancer significantly improves the chances of successful treatment and can dramatically enhance the quality of life of an individual. When aged over 75, it’s particularly important to undergo various preventive cancer screenings, reducing the possibility of late detection and potentially fatal impact.

These are the main over-75 cancer screenings you should think of when scheduling medical appointments for your elderly loved ones:

  • Breast cancer screening

Breast cancer awareness

Breast cancer screening, also known as mammogram, is a common health check to detect early signs of breast cancer, especially when the tumours are too small to be felt. It’s typically recommended to take breast cancer screening every three years, as every female aged 50-53 registered with a GP will receive their first invite. 

However, after the age of 71, patients are not invited for the screening automatically and it’s up to them to book an appointment with their local health provider.

  • Bowel cancer screening

While bowel cancer screening cannot diagnose cancer, it’s a useful way to detect potential problems as often symptoms are not present until the condition is quite advanced.

The screening is quick and painless, as it’s carried out by using a home testing kit. While people aged 60-74 get the testing kit offered automatically, elderly individuals over 75 need to request the testing kit by calling the free bowel screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

Alongside mammograms and bowel cancer screening, there are also other types of check-ups that might be lifesaving when it comes to cancer diagnosis. These include, for example, prostate checks for men or skin checks for men and women, as both prostate cancer and skin cancer can have a huge impact on people’s health, wellbeing and life quality.

Cognitive assessments

Finally, alongside all the important screenings and check-ups, let’s not forget about the importance of cognitive assessments. Helping detect early signs of cognitive decline and conditions such as dementia, these checks become increasingly important for older adults aged over 75.

Cognitive assessments are a series of tests used by health professionals that are designed to measure various aspects of cognitive function, including memory, attention, language and problem-solving skills.

There are a number of different cognitive assessments carried out by health professionals, each serving to test different cognitive functions and abilities. These include: 

●      Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)

Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) is one of the most common checks for cognitive impairment, used to determine the psychological state of elderly patients. Based on 5 main criteria, the assessment consists of 30 questions, with a lower final score indicating greater cognitive impairment.

●      Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MCA)

Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MCA) has a similar nature to MMSE. However, it can be more sensitive to detect mild cognitive dysfunction, such as the very early stages of dementia..

●      Mini-Cog

Also known as the clock drawing test, this assessment is a quick way to check visuospatial abilities and detect early signs of cognitive decline. The patient is simply asked to draw a clock showing a specific time.

Based on the placement and accuracy of numbers and hands, the health professional can then evaluate the individual and propose further steps if needed.

To diagnose dementia, NHS also provides blood tests and brain scans (MRI), both used to:

  • Check appropriate organ function
  • Rule out possible infections
  • Help confirm a diagnosis of dementia
  • Provide detailed information about the blood vessel damage

Peace of mind for over-75s and their loved ones

As we and our loved ones age, it’s more important than ever to pay special attention to all the available health checks and screening opportunities to help reduce the risk of developing or neglecting a serious health condition. From managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels to early detection of various types of cancer, all these checks are invaluable and while only taking a short time, they can make an impact on the rest of our lives and those around us. Even if tests and screenings come back negative, this can bring real peace of mind and stop older adults and their loved ones from worrying as much about health.

Elderly couple with emergency alarm pendants

Alongside these important tests and checks, another way to gain peace of mind for elderly people and loved ones is to use a personal alarm system so that help and assistance is always available if needed.

With a monitored alarm solution, an older adult always wears an alert device and simply presses the button if they have a fall, an accident or another kind of emergency at any time of the day or night. This connects them to the 24/7 emergency resolution team, who can contact family members or arrange further help if needed.

Find out more about personal alarms for seniors.

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure