The World Health Organization (WHO) has produced its first ever guidelines on how people can cut the risks of getting dementia.
Cases of Dementia including Alzheimer’s have been growing rapidly with around 50 Million people worldwide now believed to be affected by the disease.
In our previous article, we highlighted the discovery of a new form of Dementia called LATE and how it mimics the symptoms commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Although there has been much research and headway made in the treatment of other chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease, there is still no known cure for Dementia.
However, there are plenty of things that we can do to cut the risks of getting it as we grow older with experts suggesting that certain lifestyle changes could potentially reduce cases by up to a third.
The guidance is based on the evidence gathered in previous studies of what works best a lowering the risk
Simple lifestyle changes such as lowering our alcohol consumption and getting more exercise as well as not smoking all are thought to have a positive impact on cutting the risks.
Although there are other risk factors that are unavoidable such as genetics, there are many that can be addressed. Below we outline the suggestions as outlined by the WHO.
Stop Smoking - We all no that smoking is bad for our health and increases the risk of cancer. It’s also thought to increase the risk of dementia.
Get More Exercise - It not only makes us feel better, it may also help to improve our mental health and wellbeing.
Healthy Eating - By adopting a healthy and balanced diet, we can help reduce the risks of dementia and other serious conditions. The Mediterranean diet is an excellent choice containing plenty of fresh vegetables, fish and vegetables.
Avoid Pill Popping - Evidence from the WHO suggests that popping vitamin pills and the like have absolutely zero benefit when it comes to fighting the risks of Dementia.
Stop Binge Drinking - It’s a fact that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us and is associated with many chronic diseases. It may also increase the risk of Dementia, although moderate alcohol consumption may actually help to protect us from it. However, there is not enough evidence at this time to support these claims.
Brain Training May Help - Some previous studies have suggested that doing crosswords and other brain training exercises may be beneficial in the fight against Dementia. However, further research is still needed to ascertain just how beneficial it could be.
Be Socially Active - Although there isn’t any evidence that it can cut the risk of dementia, as having lots of friends and staying socially active is linked to improved health and wellbeing.
Watch Your Weight - This is linked to a good healthy diet and getting the correct amount of physical exercise which is a win win in anyone’s book.
Blood Pressure - As there is a strong correlation between high blood pressure and the risks of dementia it’s important to get this checked regularly. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting regularly exercise can help reduce blood pressure considerably.
Diabetes - Getting control of blood sugar levels is important in lowering the risk of complications such as Dementia.
High Cholesterol - As high cholesterol is associated with high blood pressure, it remains a risk factor for dementia. So once again, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help to lower this. If you have high blood pressure, it is important to take medication to keep it under control.
Prof Robert Howard, an expert at University College London, said: "We are probably decades away from treatments to slow or stop established dementia. Prevention would be so much better than a distant cure."