How To Cut Your Dementia Risk, According To Experts

    • How To Cut Your Dementia Risk, According To Experts

      The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched its first ever guidelines on how people can help avoid getting dementia.

      It looked at the evidence of what works and what doesn't for lowering risk.

      Things to avoid include smoking and drinking too much alcohol.

      While eating a healthy diet is beneficial, popping vitamin pills makes no difference to dementia risk, it advises.

      There is no good evidence that brain training works but some studies suggest it may be worthwhile, says the WHO.

      The guidelines recommend:

      1) Exercise - adults, including the elderly, should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. This could include planned exercise, like cycling, or everyday activities such as housework

      2) Stop smoking - it is bad for brain and body

      3) Eat well - a healthy, Mediterranean-like diet containing plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit is beneficial

      4) Don't bother with vitamin pills - there is no evidence that they help lower dementia risk

      5) Avoid heavy alcohol use - drinking too much is risky. Some studies have suggested that light consumption might actually be protective against dementia but there is not enough good evidence to support this idea

      6) Brain training - some studies suggest that activities to challenge the brain, such as crosswords and bespoke computer games, could be beneficial

      7) Be social - although there is no proof that it will stop or slow dementia, staying connected with friends is linked with good health and wellbeing

      8) Keep a healthy weight - this goes hand in hand with eating a good diet and getting enough exercise to stay fit and healthy

      9) Beware high blood pressure - there is a strong link between dementia and high blood pressure

      10) Get treated if you have diabetes - good control of blood sugar is important for lowering the risk of associated complications, including dementia

      11) Beware high cholesterol - it is a risk factor, although it is not clear whether cholesterol-lowering medication (statins) will reverse the risk.