Exercise more and cut down on booze to reduce dementia risk
Want to reduce your risk of dementia? Then exercise more, eat a healthier diet, and cut down on drinking alcohol.
That's what health experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) have recommended for those wanting to avoid the heartbreaking disease that contributes to the decline of brain functioning and memory loss.
The WHO Guidelines on Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia reviewed existing evidence, and found that age was the strongest risk factor for developing the syndrome, but said it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing.
Although it can't be cured or prevented, people who take good care of themselves may have lower odds of getting it, the WHO report suggested.
There are already more than 50 million people around the world with dementia, and this figure is expected to triple to over 152 million by the year 2050.
Scientists have reacted by calling for more work on medicines to treat dementia, and said the WHO report clarifies what they already knew.
"While age is the strongest known risk factor for cognitive decline, dementia is not a natural or inevitable consequence of ageing," the report said.
A Mediterranean diet, which contains a lot of fruit and vegetables, nuts, lentils, beans and potatoes or rice, was recommended.
Health experts at WHO added there was no scientific evidence that taking vitamin B, E or Omega-3 supplements would improve brain health and reduce the risk of dementia.
More than 850,000 in the U.K. have dementia, and Dr Carol Routledge from Alzheimer's Research UK, called the new report a "valuable resource".
"Genetic predisposition plays an important role in many people’s risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s, and while we cannot change the genes we inherit, taking the steps outlined in this report can still help to stack the odds in our favour," she explained.