Dementia: 'Most people' do not know a healthy lifestyle can prevent the disease

”Developing dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing."

Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 08 March 2016 12:47

The majority of people do not know that leading a healthy lifestyle can help cut the risk of developing dementia, a new survey has shown.

Charity Alzheimer’s Research UK has conducted a survey to raise awareness of how the disease is not an inevitable part of ageing.

The poll of… found that a quarter of adults in the UK knew that simple lifestyle changes can affect their chance of developing the debilitating condition.

Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, drinking moderately, not smoking, and maintaining weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels all help to lower the risk of dementia.

The survey also showed that half of people people who were informed about the links would consider changing their behaviours.

Alzheimer's Research UK chief executive Hilary Evans said that while there are no “sure-fire” methods for preventing dementia, “there are measures people can take now that could lower their risk of the condition”.

“Increasingly, research is showing that what's good for your heart is also good for your head, and with the number of people with dementia on the increase it's vital that this message reaches the public.

She added that further research is needed to identify preventions strategies “crucial for scaling u the fight against dementia.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, added: ”Developing dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing. Making better choices today can have a huge influence on our health and can reduce our risk of living with dementia later down the line.“

Commenting on the figures, Professor Alistair Burns - national clinical director for dementia at NHS England, said: ”These figures show that public understanding of dementia risk factors is low, and we must work to change that if we are to help reduce the number of people developing the condition.

“Encouragingly, these figures suggest that when given the right information, many people are motivated to make lifestyle choices to help lower their dementia risk - but currently too few people recognise that they may be able to make an impact. We must arm people with the knowledge they need to make informed choices about their lifestyle.”

The survey follows a study by US researchers who found that following the "Mind" diet can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's by 53 per cent if it is kept to strictly. Those who followed it moderately saw a 35 per cent reduction.

Mind, which stands for Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, includes a combination of foods eaten in Southern Europe and those believed to cut the risk of high blood pressure.

The Mind diet involves its followers eating at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day, as well drinking a glass of wine.

Those who follow the regime also snack on nuts on most days, and eat beans every other day. Poultry and berries are eaten twice a week, while fish is consumed weekly.

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