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Millions of snub free 20 minute health checks that can find dementia early



MILLIONS over 40s have condemned free national health checks that can reduce the risk of dementia.

Only half of the 15 million eligible people have taken the 20-minute test, according to the British NHS.

    A simple 20 minute test can find signs of dementia earlier

Getty – Contributor

A simple 20 minute test can find signs of dementia earlier

This test also filters heart problems, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.

Dementia and Alzheimer's disease remain the leading causes of death in England and Wales in 2017, accounting for nearly 13 percent of all registered deaths, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Someone who has a stroke, or has diabetes or heart disease, is about twice as likely to develop vascular dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Society.

"The beginning of the new year is the right time to commit to taking simple, free and potentially life-saving steps towards a healthier life," said Alistair Burns, national clinical director for dementia in the NHS England.

    This test also checks for signs of heart problems

Getty – Contributor

This test also checks for signs of heart problems

Everyone between the ages of 40 and 74 without a pre-existing health condition automatically qualifies for a check, which occurs every five years.

This is part of the NHS in the UK's goal of increasing early diagnosis of dementia.

Laura Phipps, head of communications in Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "There is good evidence to show that what is good for the heart is also good for the brain, but while 77 percent of people believe they can reduce their risk of heart disease, only 34 percent people know that they can reduce the risk of dementia.

"Research shows that middle age is a crucial time to take action that will help maintain a healthy brain until the end of life. With dementia which is now the main cause of death in the UK, we must encourage everyone to take positive steps to maintain healthy brain both throughout life and towards older age. "

Jamie Waterall, who leads the program in Public Health England, said: "NHS health checks see the main causes of premature death and poor health, but more importantly supporting people to take action reduces the risk of preventable conditions such as dementia and heart disease."

The national target to ensure at least two-thirds of people living with dementia diagnosed and treated has been fulfilled over the past two years, the NHS England said.

Information about health checks can be found on the NHS UK website.


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