Physical assessment

Physical exam 2 A physical assessment helps your doctor decide whether you have a heart or circulatory condition and if you need other tests. 

During an assessment, your doctor will:

  • listen to your heart and lungs through a stethoscope
  • take your blood pressure and pulse
  • check to see if you have ankle swelling
  • ask you if you have any symptoms such as breathlessness or chest pain
  • ask about your previous medical history and whether you have had any illnesses or operations.

When you see your doctor, cardiologist or other healthcare professional, it’s not always easy to know what to ask. Reading our quick guide to questions you should read before you see your doctor can help you prepare.

Health checks

Blood pressure assessmentA health check helps to find out if you are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you are over the age of 40 and living in England (with similar schemes running elsewhere nationwide) you will be invited to attend every 5 years. 

Based on the results, your nurse will advise you on what you can do to keep your heart healthy and if you need to be monitored more often.

Your nurse will also consider if you need treatment - such as medicine to reduce blood pressure or cholesterol to protect your heart. 

A heart health check includes:

  • asking you questions about your lifestyle - for example, if you smoke, and how much physical activity you do
  • asking you if there is any history of cardiovascular disease in your family
  • doing a finger prick blood test to measure your cholesterol and your blood glucose levels
  • measuring your blood pressure
  • having your weight, height and waist measurements taken.

Try our heart age tool created in partnership with the NHS to find out your heart age before your health check. 

Support our research

We need your donations to help us fund more pioneering research into the causes of coronary heart disease.

Donate now


Want to know more?

Order or download our publications:

Tests booklet



Blood pressure

Blood Pressure