WHO reveals guidelines to cut dementia risk

May 16, 2019

Dementia affects some 50 million people globally, either as a natural consequence of aging or from genetics/hereditary factors. Physical attributes include shrunken brain matter and abnormalities in/around nerve cells. Non-biological risk factors are modifiable,but the population remains strikingly unaware of the onset of dementia or how to cope with it afterwards.

There is no treatment to cure dementia, but lifestyle changes are known to slow or prevent around a third of dementia cases entirely, according to Fiona Carragher from the Alzheimer’s Society.

Professor Robert Howard from University College London (UCL), UK, has iterated that prevention would be better than a distant cure for established dementia.

A recent and welcome development would be the launch of introductory guidelines on avoiding dementia by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The agency studied evidence for effective actions to lower dementia risk, thus recommending:

  • Moderate-intensity exercise weekly – able adults and the elderly could include planned exercise or everyday activities such as housework;
  • Healthy diet/weight – fresh veggies and fruit coupled with exercise is preferred to maintain optimum bodily functions;
  • Brain training/social activities–challenging/engaging activities, such as crosswords and bespoke computer games, could help the brain and is linked to better wellbeing;
  • Treating any incidence of hearing loss in mid-life – it may protect the brain;
  • Avoid smoking/heavy alcohol consumption/vitamins – these are risky/lacks evidence to lower dementia;
  • Caution to high blood pressure/cholesterol/diabetes – there is a strong link between dementia and high blood pressure; good management of these diseases can lower associated dementia complications.

Dr. Carol Routledge, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, adds that: “While we cannot change our inherited genes, taking the steps outlined in WHO’s report can still help to stack the odds in our favour.”

Category: Health alert

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