Patients who choose to take a free NHS health check could stop people developing dementia as well as catching physical conditions, a top doctor has said.
The National health check is a 20-minute, pain-free assessment carried out by a GP or nurse and involves tests on blood pressure, weight and height.
Symptoms like high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack and can be spotted in the health check.
The programme also picks up on conditions such as kidney disease and type two diabetes – and now includes advice about preventing dementia.
Recent figures suggest that out of the 15 million people eligible for a free NHS health check over the last five years, less than 50% took advantage of the offer.
As part of the long-term plan for the NHS, NHS England has committed to improving care for heart conditions and stroke.
Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for Dementia and Older People’s Mental Health for NHS England, said: “Heart disease and dementia are two of the biggest health risks facing people in our country and the National health check will help stop.
“Attending a free NHS health check is a great opportunity to discuss existing health conditions, and to work out how to reduce the risk of developing dementia and other illness in the future.
“The start of a new year is exactly the right time to resolve commit to taking a simple, free and potentially life-saving step towards a healthier life.”
The assessment is free to everyone aged 40 and above.