Apr 30, 2019 | Health, Life
Dementia is largely avoidable: six of the seven
main risk factors can be improved by changes in behaviour. But a new study by
Alzheimers Research UK shows that many
people believe the only way to avoid dementia would be to not get old!
In fact there’s plenty of scientific research into
how the risk of dementia can be reduced. The seven big factors that increase
the risk are heavy drinking, smoking, a family history of dementia, high blood
pressure, depression, diabetes, and lack of exercise.
Out of these seven factors, your family history
(genetics) is the only one you can’t do anything about. We can’t go back and
choose a different set of parents!
High blood pressure can generally be controlled,
often without even needing medication. Changing lifestyle can achieve a lot.
And even if you do need medication, it will only help if you take
responsibility for your own health by at least remembering to take the pills.
Same goes for diabetes. I’ve worked a lot with
diabetic patients. Their attitude to how they live with the condition is the
biggest factor that determines how much or how little damage will occur to
Heavy drinking, smoking, and an inactive lifestyle
are all behaviours that anyone can change, especially with effective help. And
depression is often connected to certain negative attitudes that persist in the
background even when the person has recovered from the acute depression. These
attitudes and habits of negative thinking can be changed just like any other
So dementia is indeed avoidable for millions of
people if they make changes now to reduce their risk. The sooner they begin
these changes, the easier the change will be. Think of your mental and physical
health as a house you’re building. You start from the foundations and build
upwards from there. What you put into your body, and how you treat your body,
these lifestyle behaviours are the foundation of good health.