A recent study has found that there are some specific things that make a person more susceptible to developing dementia, and that if these risk factors are reduced, the chances of dementia decrease, too. In fact, the study mentions 12 risk factors which, when reduced, can delay or prevent this mental illness in 40 per cent of cases.
Published in the Lancet medical journal, the study finds three additional risk factors for dementia, along with the nine already listed in a 2017 paper. These include excessive consumption of alcohol, a head injury in mid-life, and exposure to air pollution in later life which, together, have been found to be associated with six per cent of all dementia cases.
While an estimated three per cent of cases were connected to head injuries, one per cent of cases was linked to high alcohol consumption, and two per cent to air pollution. The remaining factors made up 34 per cent of all dementia cases.
The factors that make up the bigger proportion of dementia cases include less early education, hearing loss in middle age and smoking later in life.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are around 50 million people around the world who have dementia, and nearly 10 million new cases come up every year. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, which is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide.
Published by 28 leading dementia academics, the new study lays out a set of policies and lifestyle changes to help prevent the condition. According to The National, lead author Professor Gill Livingston of University College London has said: “Our report shows that it is within the power of policymakers and individuals to prevent and delay a significant proportion of dementia, with opportunities to make an impact at each stage of a person’s life. Interventions are likely to have the biggest impact on those who are disproportionately affected by dementia risk factors, like those in low and middle-income countries and vulnerable populations, including black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.”
“We can reduce risks by creating active and healthy environments for communities, where physical activity is the norm, better diet is accessible for all and exposure to excessive alcohol is minimised,” Livingston said.
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