Dementia charity calls for life-saving messaging to remain in NHS Health Checks
By Simon Aucott | Friday 16 August 2019
Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on government to continue including dementia risk reduction messaging in NHS Health Checks. The appeal comes after the Department of Health and Social Care today announced it would take steps to personalise Health Checks based on age, where they live and genetics.
Alzheimer’s Research UK’s landmark Dementia Attitudes Monitor shows that just one in three people believe it’s possible to reduce their risk of dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK is urging government to lead a national health campaign to address this stark divide between the potential for dementia risk reduction and public awareness.
Dr Alison Evans, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Innovation has an important role in ensuring we offer the best health care possible on the NHS. While dementia research is making huge steps forward, we don’t yet have advanced tools to accurately predict which individuals will go on to develop dementia. We hope to one day see dementia research deliver the breakthroughs that sustained funding has allowed for people with cancer, including preventions based on genomics.
“The diseases that cause dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease, begin in midlife, decades before symptoms begin to show. Research has estimated that up to a third of cases of dementia could be down to lifestyle changes in our power to change. We strongly believe the NHS Health Check should continue to include vital information about dementia risk reduction for people aged 40 and older.
“With over a million people expected to be living with dementia by 2021, we cannot wait to share potentially life-saving information about dementia risk reduction.”
In 2017, Alzheimer’s Research UK worked alongside Public Health England and Alzheimer’s Society to pilot a programme demonstrating the benefit of offering dementia risk reduction messaging to people ages 40 to 65. Based on this report, the NHS agreed to include dementia messaging in Health Checks last summer.