Health MOT at Boots
WHAT IS A FREE HEALTH MOT AND WHERE IS THIS AVAILABLE?
Here at Boots, we believe everyone's health is individual to them. In the UK there are thought to be around 5 million adults who have high blood pressure without knowing it.
If you are aged 40 or older, live in England, and have no previous diagnosis of high blood pressure, you can book an appointment with an in-store pharmacist today*. You may also be eligible if you’ve been referred by your GP to have a blood pressure check, or if you’re under 40 with a recognised family history of high blood pressure – at the discretion of the pharmacist.
Book your appointment
Book your FREE Health MOT online or in-store. Find a store that offers the FREE Health MOT by visiting our store locator & selecting 'pharmacy services'
Attend your appointment in-store
During the 15-minute appointment, the pharmacist will take your blood pressure and offer to calculate your BMI, using your height & weight measurements, and the option of measuring your waist circumference
Receive expert advice
Following your health check, the pharmacist will offer you advice and provide you with a leaflet with your results
Clicking book now will take you to the NHS Blood Pressure Check Service booking page, this is the service you should book for a FREE health MOT
RISKS & WELLBEING
Living an unhealthy lifestyle can result in the development of health conditions like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity. This can then lead to serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke. Want to take hold of your health? Find out more about these conditions and how to reduce your risk of developing them and the factors that can support a healthy lifestyle. Making certain lifestyle choices is the most surefire way to help support your health. We're here for you with simple advice on managing weight, stopping smoking and more. Whether you’re concerned about your health or you just want to prioritise your wellbeing, take a look at our advice and find the relevant products and services to help support your health and lifestyle.
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a serious condition where your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. It’s not always clear what causes high blood pressure, but there are a number of factors that increase the risk of developing the condition. Some of these include drinking too much alcohol, eating too much salt, smoking, being overweight or obese and not doing enough physical activity. You can also be at a higher risk if you’re over 65, have a relative with high blood pressure or are of black African or black Caribbean descent.
Having high blood pressure can lead to serious life-threatening health conditions such as heart attack and stroke, simple lifestyle factors can help you keep your blood pressure under control.
A blood pressure reading is measured by two numbers – the systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body and the diastolic pressure (lower number) is the pressure when your heart relaxes between beats.
If your blood pressure reading is:
• Between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg – you’re considered to have an ideal blood pressure
• Between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg – you could be at risk of developing high blood pressure
• From 140/90mmHg – you’re considered to have high blood pressure (hypertension)
• If your blood pressure reading is low or very low (below 90/60mmHg) or very high (above 140/90mmHg) you should seek medical advice.
High blood pressure rarely has noticeable symptoms, so the only way to know if your blood pressure is high is to get a blood pressure check. You can get your blood pressure checked by your GP, at home using a blood pressure monitor, or in a participating Boots pharmacy as part of the free Health MOT service (if you’re over 40, you don’t currently have a diagnosis of high blood pressure and you live in England).*
Affecting around one in four adults in the UK, obesity† is a common condition that’s generally caused by consuming more calories (particularly in fatty and sugary foods) than you burn off through exercise. However, obesity can also develop as a result of other factors, like genetics and certain medical conditions.
As well as serious and potentially life-threatening conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes, obesity can also lead to low self-esteem and depression.
The most widely used method to check if you're a healthy weight is body mass index (BMI) which takes your weight and height measurements. You can use the NHS BMI healthy weight calculator to find out your BMI. It should be noted that the BMI measurement does have some limitations because it is a ratio of weight and height, for example, a person with a very muscular body type with little fat can have a high BMI. For most adults, if your BMI is over 30 kg/m2, or 27.5kg/m2 if you have a South Asian, Chinese, other Asian, Middle Eastern, Black African, or African-Caribbean family backgrounds, you are considered to be in the obese range.
Even if your BMI reading is within the healthy range, you could still be carrying too much fat around your waist. Measuring your waist circumference is a good way to check you're not carrying too much fat around your stomach, which can raise your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.
The best way to help manage your weight is by eating a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and exercising regularly. However, if you need some extra support to help you lose weight, speak to your GP for advice. Alternatively, you may want to access Boots Online Doctor Weight Loss Webinars or the Boots Online Doctor Weight Loss Treatment **
Type 2 diabetes is a long-term condition that causes the level of blood sugar (glucose) to become too high. About 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes and it can cause symptoms like tiredness, excessive thirst, and peeing (urination).
You can find more information on type 2 diabetes symptoms on the Boots Health Hub Diabetes Support page.
There are several risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes which include being overweight or obese, having a close relative with diabetes, being over 40 (or 25 if you’re South Asian), and being of Asian, African-Caribbean, or black African descent (including if you were born in the UK).
If you’re worried you may be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes or you have symptoms of the condition, speak to your GP. The earlier type 2 diabetes is diagnosed and treated, the better. If diagnosed, you’ll have to go to regular check-ups and may need to make certain lifestyle changes to help manage the condition such as eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly.
You may be prescribed certain medicines such as tablets or insulin to help control your type 2 diabetes and you may need to regularly measure your blood glucose levels if advised by your GP or diabetes nurse. Our pharmacy team members can provide advice on your newly prescribed medication. In addition, if you live in England, the pharmacist can give you extra support through the NHS New Medicine Service*** if your GP has diagnosed you with type 2 diabetes and prescribed medication for you to take. You can order repeat prescriptions from your GP via the Boots Online Prescription Service‡
Taking care of our mental health is just as important as our physical health. While it’s normal to feel low, stressed, or anxious from time to time, it can be a sign of something more serious if these feelings are more constant, affecting your everyday life or you’re struggling to manage them.
Depression can cause a range of symptoms, such as persistent low mood, sadness and a feeling of emptiness that lasts for weeks and months, rather than a few days. Other symptoms can include loss of interest in things you normally enjoy, and sleep and appetite changes. This can affect everyday life and can span from mild to life-threatening in some cases.
Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling under pressure, overwhelmed, or threatened. Different things can cause stress in different people but can include struggling to manage certain responsibilities, financial problems, or bereavement.
Anxiety is our body’s natural response to stress, danger and feelings of worry. It’s common for anxiety to occur during times of change or stress but it can become a problem if it negatively impacts your day-to-day life.
Whether you feel ready to reach out for support or you want to help a loved one, there’s always help at hand. Speak to your GP if you think you’re depressed or you’re finding it difficult to cope. Alternatively, you may wish to consider the Boots Online Doctor Depression and Anxiety Treatment service if you’re experiencing low mood, anxiety, stress, or other related symptoms.
You can also explore the services available via the Boots Health Hub, such as on-demand talking therapies from Support Room*
For further information, take a look at our mental health resources and discover tips from experts to help you manage your symptoms.
There can be several causes of joint pain. Damage to the joints from injury or disease impacts the way in which we move and can cause significant pain. Joint pain is very common, particularly as you age, and although it can occur in any joint, the knee, hip, and shoulder are the most commonly reported areas of pain. There are a number of conditions that can lead to joint pain including:
Osteoarthritis - the most common form of arthritis, which is caused by the wearing down of the protective cartilage that cushions the end of the bones. You may experience pain and stiffness in the joints, loss of flexibility, and swelling around the joints. It is commonly found in the joints in the knees, hips, and spine. Treatment can help manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis - is an autoimmune condition that causes joint pain and inflammation throughout the body. It is caused by antibodies mistakenly attacking healthy tissues. Unlike the gradual wear down caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints, causing pain and joint swelling that can result in bone erosion. Symptoms can include pain in one or more joints, often on both sides of the body, sometimes accompanied by fatigue or a low-grade fever.
Bursitis - a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, muscles, and tendons. When these sacs become inflamed, it is called bursitis.
Gout - a type of arthritis that often causes sudden bursts of pain, typically in the big toe. Gout can affect anyone but is more likely to affect men. It is caused by the build-up of uric acid in the blood, which can cause sharp crystals to form around the joints. Risk factors for gout include obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease.
In addition, viral infections, tendonitis, and sports injuries can cause joint pain. If you are experiencing pain in the joints, you should visit the GP - this could be the registered NHS GP or Livi GP* - for advice. You may also want to consider the Leva Pain Management Programme± or Leva Specialist Pain Clinic±, which are accessible through Boots Health Hub, to help manage chronic joint pain.
To find out more about arthritis click here
A combination of a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise can help you reduce the risk of serious health conditions while benefiting your mental wellbeing and physical health too.
The NHS recommends adults aged 19-64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity (such as running) every week, as well as to try and reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down. It’s also advised to do strengthening activities that work the major muscle groups (such as legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) at least two days per week. Do what’s comfortable for you but speak to your GP before starting if you haven’t exercised for some time, or if you have a medical condition.
Eating a balanced diet and getting your daily nutritional requirements can help you maintain a healthy body weight. So, try listening to your body’s hunger cues and stick to a healthy diet which includes:
• Eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day
• Incorporating whole grains
• Making healthy fat choices
• Swapping salt for herbs and spices
For more information, take a look at our guide to eating a portion-controlled, healthy, balanced diet
If you drink alcohol, it’s also important not to drink more than 14 units per week, spread across three days or more, for both men and women. Try to limit the amount of alcohol you consume by having several alcohol-free days per week. Whether you decide to cut back or go sober, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy a sober social life. However, if you’re struggling to cut down, speak to your GP.
On average, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night to help our bodies and mind recharge. However, snoring, insomnia (regular problems sleeping), apnoea (where breathing stops and starts while you sleep), and menopause-related sleep issues (such as night sweats), are all common problems that can disrupt sleep.
Some simple techniques can help you unwind, such as having a warm shower or bath before bedtime, having time away from technology and reading a book, limiting your caffeine intake, and using a sunrise alarm to help your body adjust to a routine. Take a look at our sleep advice for more information and to help you drift off. If you are concerned about your sleep, speak to your GP for advice.
Making the decision to quit smoking is one that will really benefit your health. It’s never too late to quit smoking, and you’ll gradually start to see benefits such as improved breathing, healthier skin, and a reduced risk of suffering a heart attack, heart disease, and some cancers.
You’re four times more likely to stop smoking if you use an NHS service to support you, which offers advice, consultations and access to some stop smoking medicines, if suitable for you. You can also speak to our pharmacy team about purchasing stop smoking aids such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to help you quit.
SERVICES TO SUPPORT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
PRODUCTS TO HELP KEEP YOUR HEALTH IN CHECK
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
High blood pressure (medically known as hypertension), is a serious condition where your blood pressure is consistently high (even when resting), meaning your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body.
You can help prevent or reduce your high blood pressure (hypertension) with lifestyle factors such as eating a healthy, balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight, doing regular physical activity, limiting your alcohol intake and if you smoke, quitting smoking.
For most people, Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement that gives an indication as to whether somebody is a healthy weight. It takes into account your height and weight to produce a BMI score.
For most adults, a good way to understand your BMI score is if:
• It’s below 18.5kg/m2 – you're in the underweight range
• It’s between 18.5kg/m2 and 24.9kg/m2 – you're in the healthy weight range
• It’s between 25kg/m2 and 29.9kg/m2 – you're in the overweight range
• It’s 30kg/m2 or over – you're in the obese range
When assessing if you’re a healthy weight, healthcare professionals may take other factors into account, such as your ethnicity. For example, adults of South Asian origin may have a high risk of some health problems like type 2 diabetes, with a BMI of 23 kg/m2 or more.
They’ll also take into account muscle, as this is much denser than fat. Your BMI can tell if you’re carrying too much weight, but it can’t tell the difference between excess fat, muscle or bone. This means that muscular people (such as heavyweight boxers and athletes) can have a high BMI, despite being a healthy weight. Likewise if you lose muscle, this can result in you falling into the ideal range while still carrying excess fat.
You can check your BMI score through the NHS BMI calculator.
There are lots of measures that can help you improve your overall health. Implementing lifestyle factors such as eating a healthy, balanced diet, doing some daily exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking, can all contribute to a healthier way of living.
*The service is available in 1,040 stores across England only, for those aged 40 years & over who don’t currently have a diagnosis of high blood pressure. You may also be eligible if you’ve been referred by your GP to have a blood pressure check, or if you’re under 40 with a recognised family history of high blood pressure – at the discretion of the pharmacist.
**Access to prescription-only treatment is subject to an online consultation with a clinician to assess suitability. Subject to availability. Charges apply.
~Minimum spend £15. Geographical restrictions, delivery and service fees apply. Subject to availability. See in-store for details.
‡NHS prescription charges may apply. Free home delivery is only available to patients registered with a GP in England. The option to collect in-store is available for all customers registered with a participating GP anywhere in the UK.
±Subject to availability. Charges may apply.
At Boots we believe everyone should have easy access to health advice when they need it and Boots has information, from access to health services to lifestyle factors. And while you're here, have a browse of our tips surrounding nutrition, wellness, & more.