Fewer than half of people over 40 who are eligible for a dementia-reducing NHS health check in England have actually taken the test.
The 20-minute assessment screens for heart problems, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease to help prevent the development of dementia. However, it has only been taken by a minority of the 15 million eligible people over the past five years, according to NHS England.
Vascular dementia is caused by a lack of blood supply to the brain, which subsequently causes the surrounding cells to die. BHF research shows that the chances of developing vascular dementia can be escalated by a stroke, which suddenly cuts off the blood supply to part of the brain.
Everyone between the ages of 40 and 74 with no pre-existing health condition is automatically eligible for the health check once every five years.
The test is part of the NHS in England’s goal to improve early diagnosis of dementia.
Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for Dementia at NHS England, said:
“The start of a new year is exactly the right time to commit to taking a simple, free and potentially life-saving step towards a healthier life.”
James Waterall, who leads on the programme at Public Health England, added:
“The NHS health check looks at the top causes of premature death and ill health but more importantly supports people to take action of reducing their risk of preventable conditions such as dementia and heart disease.”
Find out more about our research into vascular dementia