As part of the NHS Health Check programme GP surgeries will soon start speaking to patients about the ways in which they can reduce their dementia risk, Public Health England (PHE) reports.
With the introduction of the new check, patients will be better informed of how it’s possible to reduce dementia risk, which includes:
- Maintaining a healthy social life;
- Keeping mentally and physically active; and
- Stopping smoking.
The current NHS Health Check
There are over 850,000 people estimated to be living with dementia in the UK with marginal understanding of how it’s possible to reduce risk.
The majority of the NHS Health Check currently focuses on reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD). The advice for preventing CVD is similar to the that of dementia, with the slogan ‘What’s good for the heart is good for the brain’.
New data published this month shows that over the last five years over 14 million people have been offered an NHS Health Check and almost seven million have had a health check.
Importance of dementia risk advice
Minister for Public Health Steve Brine said: “Early detection and prevention are vital to the health of our nation, and our programmes in this area are among the most ambitious in the world.
“Our aim is to keep everyone as healthy as possible, for as long as possible, which is why we are introducing advice on dementia prevention as part of our free health checks.”
Why should you have an NHS Health Check?
Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, added: “The NHS Health Check is one of the largest public health prevention programmes in the world, with almost seven million in the last five years having benefitted from a check, and it’s reaching the people where it’s most needed with the greatest numbers in the most disadvantaged areas. This success is down to local councils delivering, and they should be proud of this achievement.
“It’s free and fast, and effective – just 15 minutes that could add years to your life.”
According to PHE, as much as 85% of CVD cases are preventable. PHE advises that the NHS Health Check helps identify and support those who would benefit from clinical and lifestyle treatment and services for the top seven risk factors driving the burden of non-communicable disease, such as:
- All cancers;
- Heart disease; and
- Respiratory diseases.