A healthy lifestyle can protect against dementia: do not smoke, avoid alcohol and exercise more ‘reduces the risk of memory problems caused by a THIRD PARTY’
- The research by Dutch academics followed an average of 6000 people for 14 years
- They discovered that unhealthy habits increase the risk of dementia by around 29%
- But an unhealthy lifestyle “made little difference to people with a high genetic risk”
Avoiding alcohol, cutting out cigarettes and exercising more can protect you against dementia, scientists say.
Researchers have uncovered even more evidence that a healthy lifestyle can ward off memory theft.
Their research showed that unhealthy habits, such as smoking, increase the risk of dementia by about a third.
But the results provided a “less optimistic view” for those with a high genetic risk of the condition, with a healthy lifestyle that does little to protect against it.
Researchers have uncovered even more evidence that a healthy lifestyle can ward off memory theft
The research of Dutch academics, published in Nature Medicine, has followed hundreds of people for an average of 14 years.
During the research of the Erasmus MC – University Medical Center Rotterdam, 915 volunteers were affected by dementia.
The researchers calculated the genetic risk of dementia for each participant by searching for 27 genes that are strongly related to the disease.
Volunteers were grouped in brackets with high, medium or low risk, depending on which APOE variants they wore.
The gene is thought to be associated with approximately 50 percent of Alzheimer’s cases – the most common form of dementia.
All participants were then separated into three different groups based on how healthy their lifestyle was supposed to be.
They were asked if they smoked, had depression or diabetes, were physically active, had a healthy diet and avoided social isolation.
All factors are linked to dementia, which affects around 850,000 people in the UK and around six million in the US, show figures.
Up to a third of all cases are considered to be potentially preventable because they are related to nutrition, inactivity or poor brain health.
Participants who admitted to two or fewer of the unhealthy habits were considered a “favorable” lifestyle.
For comparison, those who said they had five were coined to have an “unfavorable” lifestyle. There was also an intermediary group.
The results showed that participants with an ‘unfavorable’ lifestyle had a 32 percent higher risk of dementia than those with a healthier one.
The odds remained the same – 29 percent – after the researchers took into account the parental history of the disease and cardiovascular risk factors.
The findings also showed that a healthy lifestyle regarded people with a low or average risk of dementia much more than people with a high risk.
Participants with a low risk of developing the disease, for example, had a 2.5-fold higher risk of dementia if they had an unfavorable lifestyle.
The results showed that the same risk was 39 percent higher in medium-risk volunteers – but only five percent higher in high-risk participants.
The team said further tests are needed to confirm the results, and said the study did not take into account how lifestyles change over time or prove a causal link.
It is after the World Health Organization in May said that people should exercise more, eat a healthy diet and drink less alcohol to reduce their risk of dementia.
A large overview of existing evidence showed that age was the strongest risk factor for the state of memory theft – but said this is not an inevitable consequence of aging.
Although it cannot be cured, people who take good care of themselves may be less likely to get it – it is not inevitable, the report said.
Although the quality of the evidence to support many of the WHO recommendations was low, most were recommended to improve overall health.
WHAT IS DEMENTIA? THE KILLER DISEASE THAT IS SUFFERING TO THEIR MEMORIES
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a series of neurological disorders
A WORLDWIDE CARE
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a series of progressive neurological disorders (affecting the brain) that affect memory, thinking and behavior.
There are many different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common.
Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.
Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience his dementia in his own unique way.
Dementia is a global problem, but is most often seen in richer countries, where people are likely to live to very old ages.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
The Alzheimer’s Society reports that today more than 850,000 people with dementia live in the UK, more than 500,000 of whom have Alzheimer’s.
It is estimated that by 2025 the number of people with dementia in the UK will increase to more than 1 million.
In the US there are an estimated 5.5 million people with Alzheimer’s. A comparable percentage increase is expected in the coming years.
As the age of a person increases, so does the risk of dementia.
The diagnoses are increasing but many people with dementia are still not diagnosed.
IS THERE A CURE?
There is currently no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow their progress and the sooner it is noticed, the more effective are treatments.
Source: Alzheimer’s Society