Nearly three-quarters of dementia cases can be prevented, according to a recent study that examined 210 potential risk factors. Among these factors, researchers identified 62 preventable ones, categorized into six groups. These factors are estimated to contribute to 47-73% of dementia cases.

Excessive TV viewing and inadequate sleep (less than seven hours or more than nine hours per night) were among lifestyle choices linked to a higher dementia risk.

Surprisingly, an unhealthy lifestyle accounts for nearly 17% more preventable dementia cases than an individual's medical history. Additionally, stress was found to potentially increase the risk of dementia.

Dementia: 62 factors

The most significant of these 62 factors include frailty (measured by weak hand grip) and medical conditions such as diabetes, disability, or previous stroke. Even these medical risks can be mitigated through a healthier lifestyle, incorporating regular exercise and a balanced diet.

This extensive study involved over 344,000 British people, who underwent detailed surveys for the UK Biobank Health Study and were tracked for an average of 15 years. The 62 potential dementia prevention factors were identified because they were more prevalent among the 4,654 study participants who developed the condition.

Professor David Smith, a co-author of the study from the University of Oxford, emphasized, that many people still believe that dementia is an inevitable part of aging. However, these results show that dementia is far more preventable than previously believed. With limited effective treatments available, he said the primary focus should be on preventing its occurrence in the first place.

Published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, the study indicates that lifestyle factors, including poor sleep, lack of participation in sports clubs or gyms, and insufficient water intake, may be responsible for 16.6% of dementia cases. Medical history, mainly involving disability, stroke, diabetes, and depression, may account for 14% of cases. Socioeconomic status, such as unemployment or lower income, which can hinder healthy choices, is estimated to contribute to 13.5% of dementia cases.

The study also suggests that physical measures, such as improving grip strength, and social and psychological factors like combating loneliness and isolation, can help reduce dementia risk.

Individuals with an unhealthy lifestyle may face a 62% higher risk of developing dementia compared to those leading a healthy lifestyle.

Six categories to focus on

Improving all six categories—lifestyle, medical history, physical indicators, socioeconomic status, social and psychological factors, and local environment—from a poor level to a good or moderate level could prevent 47% of dementia cases. Elevating all categories to a good level could prevent up to 73% of cases.

Crucially, these results apply to individuals of all ages and genders and remain consistent even when factoring in genetic predisposition to dementia.

2023-10-05T02:53:32Z dg43tfdfdgfd