We are offering the people of Wales advice on avoiding the onset of dementia after it was revealed by Alzheimer’s Research UK that one percent of UK adults are unable to name known risk factors for dementia.
Risk factors for dementia include heavy drinking, smoking, high blood pressure, depression and diabetes and it is worrying that only 1% of adults realise that these can all lead to the disease. This shows that more education is urgently needed.
The study by Alzheimer’s Research UK also revealed that only 34% of people believe it’s possible to reduce the risk of the disease. Fifty one percent of people recognise that dementia is a cause of death and 22% incorrectly believe it is an inevitable part of getting older.
There are currently 850,000 people in the UK suffering from dementia and numbers are predicted to rise to one million by the year 2025 and two million by 2051. Unfortunately, there is no test for dementia and no cure, but there are lots of things people can do to help reduce their risk:
- Get blood pressure and cholesterol checked. Research has found that people with high levels of LDL cholesterol are more likely to have amyloid plaques in the brain, which can lead to the disease.
- Exercise more. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week to help reduce the risk of vascular-related dementia.
- Quit for good. Heavy smoking has been found to double the risk of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia so try quitting for good.
- Watch your weight. A British Medical Journal study revealed obesity in middle-age was linked with more than a 70% higher risk of dementia in older age.
- Control your diet. A Mediterranean diet has been recommend as lots of fruit, vegetables, fish and low levels of saturated fat and red meat can help people reduce the risk of developing thinking and memory problems.
- Avoid binge-drinking. Binge-drinking can increase the risk of dementia so limit your intake.
- Check diabetes symptoms. Having untreated type two diabetes can double your risk of Alzheimer’s so get them checked.
While this advice won’t prevent the disease for sure it is always a good idea to do everything you can to help in any way.