Why and when will I have physical health checks?
We’ve asked you to have an initial physical health check so that we can:
- get a baseline of your physical health
- see if there are any physical health concerns.
If you start medication or are on a treatment pathway that may involve being prescribed medication, you will be asked to attend a physical health check appointment.
Once you have started taking medication, you will have a physical health check review at three months.
After your initial physical health check, or your three month review, your checks will be held once a year.
What will the physical health check involve?
We will ask you some lifestyle and health questions. We will carry out the following checks:
- general questions about your health*
- pulse level
- oxygen levels in your blood
- waist measurements
- blood sugar level*
- blood pressure*
- ECG (Electrocardiography) to check your heart*
We will also take a blood sample* and let you and your GP know if you need any further investigations.
* see below for more information about these checks.
How will I find out the results of my physical health check?
After your physical health check a doctor in the team will check the results and these are sent to your GP.
If you would like a copy of your physical health check results please ask a member of the team.
More information about physical health checks
Medical questions and history
You will be asked about:
- family history (which includes immediate family members such as; mother, father, grandparents and siblings) of any heart conditions, diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, hypertension
- whether you have sleep apnoea, osteoarthritis or any allergies
- lifestyle questions around;
- drug use
- weight changes over the last three months
- sedentary lifestyle
- general physical health
- what medications you take. It might be helpful to bring a list of all of the medications you take.
It’s entirely up to you if you want to be weighed.
However, we recommend you do as it is important to monitor weight, particularly if you are taking medication. Certain medications require weight to be monitored on a weekly basis for the first six weeks. If you start taking medication that requires this, we will speak to you about it.
If you do have a weight check, you do not need to know how much you weigh unless you want to know.
If you do want to know your weight, you can make a note of your weight here if you want to.
Blood sugar check
What happens when I have my blood sugar tested?
- A small needle will prick your finger and a small amount of blood is placed onto a BM (blood glucose test) stick and a reading is taken by the machine.
- Depending on which medication you are prescribed, you may need a blood sugar test after four weeks as well as the three month test. This is to help pick up any changes as early as possible to avoid any problems developing.
Blood pressure check
What happens when I have my blood pressure taken and what does it feel like?
- A cuff is placed around your arm which expands and you can feel it getting tighter. The cuff is around your arm for a minute or so.
Sometimes blood pressure can be checked by using a wrist blood pressure monitor instead. We will always talk you through the process.
ECG (Electrocardiography) check
If you are starting medication, it is important that we carry out an ECG which checks your heart. It is important that we monitor this as sometimes changes can occur. An ECG is also recommended if there is a history of heart problems, or if your medication dose increases. You can also request one at other times if you have any concerns.
What will happen in my appointment?
- You will be asked to lie on the bed.
- Sticky pads will be placed on your arms, legs and chest area.
- Wires will be attached to the sticky pads.
- The wires are attached to the ECG machine.
- The ECG machine then takes a trace of your heart.
Some clinicians have different equipment and carry out an ECG by using a little gadget that goes onto your knee and takes a reading.
We will talk you through the process and what the ECG will involve.
If you would like someone with you in the room with you, you can bring a family member, carer or a friend.
What should I wear to my appointment?
- You will need to wear appropriate clothing as we need to access the chest area.
- It is important not to wear any items containing metal, for example, please do not wear necklaces, watches, bracelets.
- It is important not to have body cream on your skin as this can prevent the pads from sticking.
Will it hurt?
- No, it won’t hurt. The sticky pads should be taken off after the ECG has finished.
- Prolactin (PRL) is a hormone that, in humans, is best known for helping women to produce milk following childbirth.
- Prolactin also plays an essential role in metabolism (processes that enable life in cells), control of the immune system, and development of the pancreas.
- Certain medications for the treatment of your mental health can raise prolactin levels so it is important that we monitor this.
- Prolactin levels can be tested by taking a sample of blood.
- We test your blood to check for any abnormalities. If you’d like to know more, you can ask for more information on this at your appointment.
- Blood is generally taken from your arm or the back of your hand.
- We advise that you eat and drink before your blood test as it is important to be hydrated.
- We do not provide numbing cream but if this is something that you would like you can ask your GP for the cream before your appointment. It is important that you put the cream on 20 minutes before your appointment.
References and resources
- High blood pressure: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/
- High blood sugar levels: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-sugar-hyperglycaemia/
- Quick Guide to Hyperprolactinaemia for staff, patients and carers (TEWV)
- British Heart Foundation: www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport
- Right from the Start: www.rightfromthestartmatters.com
L1136, v1, 20 / 07 / 2021, archive 20 / 07 / 2024