Five lifestyle changes 'could reduce dementia risk'

Date Published: 27 Aug 2014 @ 15:01 PM
Article By: Nina Hathway, News Editor

Taking exercise, eating a Mediterranean diet and learning a new hobby are among the top five tips to stave off dementia - but one in five Britons think there is nothing they can do says new research from a charity.

A recently published YouGov poll of more than 2,000 people by the Alzheimer’s Society has found that 22 per cent of people did not think it was possible to reduce their risk of dementia.

The charity said “five simple changes” to the average lifestyle could make a significant difference, with regular exercise highlighted as the most important factor despite growing evidence that the condition is linked to lifestyles.

Dr Clare Walton from Alzheimer's Society said: “Some 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia but with no cure yet, we need a significant public health effort to attempt to reduce the number of future cases of the condition.

“We know that what is good for your heart is good for your head and there are simple things you can start doing now to reduce your risk of developing dementia. Regular exercise is a good place to start as well as eating a Mediterranean diet and avoiding smoking.

'It is never too early to start making healthier choices that could help your memory - whether that's hitting the gym or just walking instead of catching the bus, it all helps.'

Alzheimer's Society is calling on people to take action now, and has revealed five simple things people can start doing straight away to reduce their risk of dementia. The charity recommends doing the following five simple things to reduce the risk of developing the condition:

• Exercise - there's more evidence that regular exercise will prevent dementia than any other measure. Walking regularly is an excellent way of keeping active.

• Eat Mediterranean food - eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts, a little red wine and not much meat or dairy.

• Manage other health conditions – other conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure both increase the risk of developing dementia, so get these checked and follow medical advice to keep them under control.

• Avoid smoking - it significantly increases the risk of developing dementia, most likely because it damages blood vessels and reduces the amount of blood that reaches your brain.

• Use it or lose it – scientists believe that frequently challenging the brain with new things is the key, for example taking up a new hobby, learning a language or even walking an unfamiliar route.

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