In a new study from the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care, researchers found modifying 12 risk factors over a lifetime could delay or prevent 40% of dementia cases.
Researchers added three new risk factors in the new report — excessive alcohol intake and head injury in mid-life and air pollution in later life.
These are in addition to nine factors previously identified by the commission: less education early in life; mid-life hearing loss, hypertension and obesity; and smoking, depression, social isolation, physical inactivity and diabetes later in life (65 and up).
Dementia affects some 50 million people globally, a number that is expected to more than triple by 2050, according to the report. Women are also more likely to develop dementia than men.
However, in certain countries, such as the United States, England and France, the proportion of older people with dementia has fallen, probably in part due to lifestyle changes, demonstrating the possibility of reducing dementia through preventative measures.
The team members recommend that policymakers and individuals adopt the following interventions:
Aim to maintain the systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or less from the age of 40.
Encourage use of hearing aids for hearing loss and reduce hearing loss by protecting ears from high noise levels.
Reduce exposure to air pollution and second-hand tobacco smoke.
Prevent head injury (particularly by targeting high-risk occupations).
Limit alcohol intake to no more than 21 units per week (one unit of alcohol equals 10 ml or 8 g pure alcohol).
Stop smoking and support others to stop smoking.
Provide all children with primary and secondary education.
Lead an active life into mid-life and possibly later life.
Reduce obesity and the linked condition of diabetes.
The report also advocates for holistic, individualized and evidence-based care for patients with dementia, who typically have more hospitalizations for conditions that are potentially manageable at home and are at greater risk for COVID-19.
In addition, it recommends providing interventions for family caregivers who are at risk for depression and anxiety.
The team conducted a thorough investigation of all the best evidence in the field, including systematic literature reviews, meta-analyses and individual studies, to reach their conclusions.
If you care about dementia, please read studies about hearing loss linked to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and findings of this blood pressure number may help predict dementia, brain lesions.
For more information about dementia and your health, please see recent studies about this type of antibiotic drug may effectively treat common dementia and results showing that statin and blood pressure drug combos may help reduce dementia risk.
The study was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. One author of the study is Lon Schneider, MD.
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