People are living longer than ever nowadays and while we plan for retirement financially, we don’t necessarily factor our health into those plans.
WATCH: Here are some things you might not know about dementia
When it comes to dementia, it turns out there are twelve major factors of our everyday life that are causing 40% of worldwide cases. And they’re all preventable.
Medical journal The Lancet lists the twelve risk as: Less education, hypertension, hearing impairment, smoking, obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, low social contact, excessive alcohol consumption, traumatic brain injury, and air pollution.
While The Lancet admits there are still gaps in knowledge surrounding dementia, their ambition is to create more evidence-based resources to better guide people through stages of prevention, detection, and diagnosis.
“Although we have more to learn about effectiveness, avoiding or delaying even a proportion of potentially modifiable dementias should be a national priority for all.”
It's likely most people would identify with one of the twelve factors, so by making simple lifestyle changes, whether it lowers your risk of dementia or not, you'll at least get a bit fitter and healthier along the way.
To better address these risks, The Lancet outlines 9 major changes that individuals and policymakers should better prioritise to lower rates of dementia.
Aim to maintain the systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or less in midlife from around age 40 years.
Encourage the use of hearing aids for hearing loss and reduce hearing loss by protecting ears from high noise levels.
Reduce exposure to air pollution and second-hand tobacco smoke.
Prevent head injury (particularly by targeting high-risk occupations and transport)
Prevent alcohol misuse and limit drinking to less than 21 units per week.
Stop smoking uptake and support individuals to stop smoking (which the authors stress is beneficial at any age).
Provide all children with primary and secondary education.
Lead an active life into mid, and possibly later life.
Reduce obesity and diabetes.
With rates in dementia expected to triple by 2050 and those most affected being socially disadvantaged groups including minority ethnic groups, now seems like a good time to take this seriously. Implementing these nine strategies is a good place to start, and we guarantee the future you will be grateful.