Dementia risk will now be included as part of the NHS Health Check programme, Public Health England (PHE) has announced.
Adding dementia risk to the NHS Health Check programme for patients aged 40–74 years will mean healthcare professionals can “talk to their patients about how they can reduce their dementia risk, such as by maintaining their social life, keeping mentally and physically active and stopping smoking”, PHE said.
More than 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK with little public understanding of the risk factors. PHE said that while much of the NHS Health Check focuses on reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, the advice for preventing CVD is much the same as for dementia, and that “what’s good for the heart is good for the brain”.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said the NHS Health Check was one of the largest public health prevention programmes in the world, with almost seven million people having benefitted from it in the past five years, and the greatest numbers seen in the most disadvantaged areas.
“It’s free, fast and effective — just 15 minutes, which could add years to your life,” he said.
The most recent five-year performance of the NHS Health Check found that over 14 million people (91% of the five-year eligible population) had been offered an NHS Health Check, and almost 7 million (48.7% of those offered) had had one.