MILLIONS over 40 years have received a free national health check that can reduce the risk of dementia.
Only half of the 15 million eligible people passed the 20-minute test, according to NHS England.
The test also shows heart problems, kidney disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Dementia and Alzheimer's disease remained the leading cause of death in England and Wales in 2017, representing nearly 13% of all registered deaths, according to the Office of 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 Association.
"The beginning of the new year is precisely the right time to commit to a simple, free and potentially salvaged step towards a healthier life," said Alistair Barnes, the national clinical director of dementia in England.
Anyone between 40 and 74 years of age without pre-existing health conditions is automatically suited for the check, which happens every five years.
It is part of the NHS in England's goal of improving the early diagnosis of dementia.
Laura Phips, head of communications research in Alzheimer's UK, said: "There is good evidence to suggest that good for the heart is also good for the brain, but as 77 percent of people believe they can reduce the risk of heart disease, only 34 percent of people know they can reduce the risk of dementia.
"Research shows that the middle of life is a crucial time to take action that will help maintain a healthy brain in later life. With the dementia that is now the leading cause of death in the UK, we must encourage everyone to take positive steps to maintaining good brain health throughout life and at an older age. "
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Jamie Vaol, who heads the UK public health program, said: "The NHS health examines the main causes of premature death and ill health, but more importantly, it supports people to take action to reduce the risk of preventative conditions like dementia and heart disease. "
The national goal of providing at least two-thirds of people living with dementia has been diagnosed and treated has been met in the past two years, according to the NHS England.
Healthcare information can be found on the NHS UK website.
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