A third of dementia cases could be prevented if people are guided towards certain steps to look after their health, according to a study.
A total of 24 international experts worked on the research which has identified nine key health risk factors, such as tackling obesity and type 2 diabetes, as pivotal to preventing dementia.
When these factors are all factored together, the researchers note that they account for about 35 per cent of the overall risk of dementia.
Hearing loss, failure to complete secondary education, smoking, ignoring and not treating early signs of depression, not exercising, social isolation and high blood pressure are other factors which could contribute to the decline of the mind.
Lead author Professor Gill Livingsto, from University College London (UCL), said: “Although dementia is diagnosed in later life, the brain changes usually begin to develop years before.
“A broader approach to prevention of dementia which reflects these changing risk factors will benefit our aging societies and help to prevent the rising number of dementia cases.”
Dementia is a degenerative brain condition characterized by memory failure and impaired reasoning. It has been predicted that by 2051 a further 850,000 people in the UK will have been diagnosed with the disorder.
Speaking to The Independent newspaper, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, who is chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Dementia causes a huge amount of distress for many patients, their families, friends and carers.
“We welcome the broader, societal approach outlined in this research, and certainly the idea that we all need to take individual responsibility, usually by making relatively small lifestyle changes – at all stages of life – to ‘dementia-proof’ our own health, and that of our families.
“It is clear that maintaining optimal physical and mental health and wellbeing is key, which stresses the importance of having a properly funded general practice service, and wider NHS.”
This latest study confirms further evidence of the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight and controlling type 2 diabetes in a bid to ward off future chronic conditions.
You can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and even reverse your type 2 diabetes by joining the Low Carb Program, a 10-week education courses which demonstrates how a low-carb diet can enable weight loss and better blood glucose levels.
The report will be presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

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