Dementia, a broad category of brain diseases that cause long term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember, can be put at bay if certain risk factors are avoided and some measures are adhered to.
This is according to findings from 24 international experts which were published in The Lancet medical journal.
The researchers say one-third of dementia cases worldwide might be prevented by paying attention to certain risk factors throughout one’s life.
According to the study, the nine risk factors are:
Leaving school before the age of 15; hearing loss, obesity and high blood pressure in mid-life; smoking, depression, physical inactivity, social isolation and diabetes in later life.
They said taking cognizance of these risk factors could possibly prevent 35 percent of dementia cases.
According to lead author Gill Livingston, a professor at University College London, “Acting now will vastly improve life for people with dementia and their families, and in doing so, will transform the future of society.
“We believe that a broader approach to prevention of dementia which reflects these changing risk factors will benefit our aging societies and help to prevent the rising number of dementia cases globally.”
On his part, Lon Schneider, the study co-author said: “Society must engage in ways to reduce dementia risk throughout life, and improve the care and treatment for those with the disease.
“This includes providing safe and effective social and health-care interventions in order to integrate people with dementia within their communities.
“Hopefully this will also ensure that people with dementia, their families and caregivers encounter a society that accepts and supports them.”
The findings will be presented on Thursday at the Alzheimer’s Association international conference in London, UK.
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