More than 55 million people are living with dementia globally, and there are about 10 million new cases every year, says the World Health Organization. In addition, it is the seventh leading cause of death and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people on the planet.
But more worrisome than this is that in 2019, the WHO Director-General
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus informed that the number of people with dementia is expected to triple in the next 30 years. He added that everything should be done to reduce the risk and scientific pieces of evidence confirmed that what is good for the heart is also good for the brain.
“We need to do everything we can to reduce risk of dementia. The scientific evidence gathered confirms that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain,” the WHO chief said. Amidst this, the reassuring news is that 40% of dementia can be prevented or delayed if we change our health habits, according to the Lancet.
Conforming this, the National Health Service of the United Kingdom (NHS UK) informed that there is good evidence that a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of developing dementia when the person is older. Not just dementia, but it further added that a healthy lifestyle can also help prevent cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attacks, which are risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia that are the 2 most common types of dementia.
While highlighting that ‘what is good for your heart is also good for your brain’, NHS UK lists a few things that can help reduce the risk of dementia and they are:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Keeping alcohol within recommended limits
- Quitting smoking
- Maintaining healthy level of blood pressure
There are a few other tips and strategies recommended by the Alzheimer Society of Canada that looks after long-term brain health, reduces the risk of other cognitive and chronic diseases, and protects the overall health. Those tips are:
- Being socially active
- Cross-training or challenging the brain
- Managing stress
- Being active