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Dementia Health Check: Your Guide

Last year, NHS England reported that less than half of over-40s had taken a free national health check which could reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, which remain the leading causes of death in England and Wales.

Alzheimer Research UK, along with Public Health England and Alzheimer’s Society, initially worked together to launch the project which saw, for the first time, 40-64-year-olds in England given information about dementia risk in the NHS Health Check.

Since its launch in 2001, the 20-minute painless assessment, which screens for a multitude of health issues, has been taken by less than a third of the 15 million eligible people over the past five years.

With this in mind, we’ve  created a simple step-by-step guide to help you arrange a health check.

Who can have an NHS health check?

Anyone between the age of 40 and 74 who is healthy and doesn’t already have any diseases.

Every five years, you should receive an automatic invitation from your GP surgery or local authority arranging a check. If you have not received an appointment we recommend contacting your surgery as soon as possible.

After the age of 74 you can request a health check-up from your GP or nurse.

What does the test involve?

The check, which is pain free and only takes 20-minutes, will look at your height, weight, blood pressure, family history and lifestyle. By checking each of these elements, it is then possible to give an idea of your risk of getting heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.

Recent research has shown that people with a history of heart disease are twice as likely to develop dementia. 

After the assessment you will then receive personalised advice on:

– Improving  your diet

– Taking more exercise

– Taking medicines to lower blood pressure or cholesterol

– Losing weight

– Stopping smoking

Anyone over the age of 65 will also be told the sign and symptoms of dementia, and what to look out for.

Why it’s important?

NHS England have found that for every 2% reduction in the number of people experiencing stroke or other heart problems there are around 10,000 fewer dementia cases later in life.

In the initial pilot conducted by Alzheimer’s Research UK, found that over 75% of the people re-called said they were more likely to adopt a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce the risk of developing dementia. A further 80% said the advice would have some impact on their behaviour.

The NHS in England has committed to improving early diagnosis of dementia and has already made significant improvements in care for older people.

For more information, please check out NHS England’s website, here.

20-minutes is all it takes. Book appointment today.

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