Five steps to deter dementia


Leading a healthy lifestyle has been proven to stave off a series of ailments and conditions, from heart disease to obesity. But new research has found that there are five simple steps that people can take to maintain brain health and reduce their risk of developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

'Evidence shows that there are simple and effective ways to reduce our risk of developing it'

These include taking regular exercise, not smoking, maintaining a healthy bodyweight, eating a Mediterranean diet and a low alcohol intake. The analysis from Age UK revealed that a person's lifestyle contributes to about three-quarters of cognitive decline; the type of changes in thinking skills which increase with age including memory loss and speed of thinking.

As part of the research a study was carried out on men and found that those who followed the five tips for healthy living had a 36 per cent lower risk of developing cognitive decline and a 36 per cent lower risk of developing dementia than those who did not.

The new research comes from The Disconnected Mind, an Age UK funded research project into how thinking skills alter with age. It includes the latest international dementia studies and found that preventing and treating diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity could reduce the risk of the disease. The importance of physical exercise is one of its key messages. Whether it's partaking in aerobic, resistance or balance exercise, this was found to be the most effective way to ward off cognitive decline in healthy older people and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. According to the latest estimates there are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia.

Despite the warnings though, the study found that in the UK, barely a third of people manage to carry out the recommended 150 minutes of activity a week.

"While there’s still no cure or way to reverse dementia, this evidence shows that there are simple and effective ways to reduce our risk of developing it to begin with," said Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK.

"What’s more, the changes that we need to make to keep our brains healthy are already proven to be good for the heart and overall health, so it’s common sense for us all to try to build them into our lives. The sooner we start, the better our chance of having a healthy later life."

© Cover Media

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