Importance of Physical Health

Assessing and monitoring physical health

Your physical wellbeing contributes to your mental wellbeing, so getting your physical health checked and monitored is a good way to help improve your wellbeing.  Well planned physical health monitoring can make a real difference.
Physical health conditions may cause or contribute to your mental health symptoms; therefore it is important to have a good idea of how healthy you are.  Assessing your physical health is just as important as assessing your mental health as this can:
Identify and treat any early signs of physical health problems;
Prevent or treat any physical health problems associated with medicines you take for your mental health condition.

Risks to physical health

Cardiometabolic health is a measure of risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke.  We are all at risk of developing cardiometabolic illness, however some factors can increase that risk such as family history or medication taken for your mental health condition.  Some of these risks cannot be changed e.g. as you get older your risk increases, however the good news is that there are risks you can change.  Most physical health conditions are preventable.  Healthier lifestyle changes such as nutrition and exercise can be important ways to lower your risk.  Talk to your GP or your Mental Health Team if you have any concerns about your medication and physical health.

If you have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness (SMI) such as schizophrenia or psychosis, your GP should ensure you have a regular Annual Health Check.  As part of an annual health check, your:  smoking status, lifestyle, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, blood glucose (sugar) regulation and cholesterol (blood lipids) will be checked and discussed.

If you are aged between 40-74 you can receive an NHS Health Check at your GP.  The NHS Health Check is offered every 5 years and is a check of your heart health looking at your vascular or circulatory health and works out your risk of developing preventable illnesses.  Think of your NHS Health Check as being your "midlife MOT".  It checks that some of your body's most important systems are all running smoothly.  Among other things, your blood pressure, cholesterol, and BMI will all be checked and your results given to you.

If you have not received a letter from your GP about an Annual Health Check or NHS Health Check, you can make an appointment yourself.  If you feel worried or anxious about making an appointment, find out some GP appointment top tips to help you prepare.

Improving your physical and mental health and wellbeing

Getting active and eating a balanced diet that includes more fibre, a reduction of saturated fat and salt, can help you reduce your risk of cardiometabolic health.  Giving up smoking and drinking less alcohol can also help to reduce your risk.