The national health check – a 20-minute, pain-free assessment carried out by a GP or nurse and involving tests on blood pressure, weight and height – is free to everyone aged 40 years old and above.
Symptoms like high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat increase the risk of having a stroke or suffering a heart attack and can be spotted as part of the routine health check.
The national health check programme also picks up conditions such as kidney disease and type 2 diabetes and, since June, has included advice about preventing dementia.
However, recent figures show that of the 15 million people eligible for a free NHS health check over the last five years, fewer than 50% took one.
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.