A recent study has found that dementia rates have drastically declined in recent years, despite growing rates of other conditions such as diabetes, and obesity, both of which have been linked to dementia in old age.
“It’s definitely good news”
Dr. Kenneth Langa, co-author of the study and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, shares: “It’s definitely good news. Even without a cure for Alzheimer’s disease or a new medication, there are things that we can do socially and medically and behaviorally that can significantly reduce the risk.”
The study was conducted on 21,000 diverse senior citizens from the United States. According to statistics, in the US alone, 4-5 million senior citizens live with dementia. According to the New York Times, “The researchers found that dementia decreased from 11.6 percent in 2000 to 8.8 percent in 2012 among surveyed U.S. adults 65 years or older, meaning that an estimated 1.5 million people expected to have dementia by now appear to have dodged the diagnosis”
Alzheimer’s is still a public health crisis
In spite of this good news, other forms of memory loss such as Alzheimer’s is still a problem that plagues a lot of senior citizens. The Alzheimer’s Association pointed out that even if the rates decrease, the number of people with dementia will increase as the population gets larger.
Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach, medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer’s Association shares “Alzheimer’s is going to remain the public health crisis of our time, even with modestly reduced rates” Fargo said.
Researchers still have no idea why exactly the rates of dementia are steadily decreasing, but they’re thinking that doctors might be doing a better job at managing high blood pressure and diabetes in their patients, conditions which are directly linked to dementia.
They add that better education has an impact on dementia as educated people usually have more access to better healthcare and are also less likely to smoke, and less likely to become overweight.
Go to the next page to learn more about reducing the risk of dementia!
Reducing the risk of dementia
While there isn’t a way of preventing dementia directly, there are a lot of steps that you can take in order to reduce the risk of dementia in old age.
- Eat healthier. Healthy eating is the easiest thing that you can to to lower the risk of dementia. Keeping your body healthy through proper diet keeps you strong and also lowers the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure which can contribute to dementia.
- Exercise more. A healthy diet goes hand in hand with exercise. Eating healthy won’t do much if you live a sedentary lifestyle. Jogging in the morning, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and other simple things can contribute to keeping fit.
- Quit smoking. Smoking has been identified.
- Drink less alcohol. Alcohol can raise blood pressure as well as raise the cholesterol levels in your blood. Ideally, 2 pints of beer is the recommended daily limit for alcohol.
- Monitor your blood pressure. There are cases wherein healthy people who also frequently exercise suffer from high blood pressure. Make sure to always monitor your blood pressure as well as your cholesterol levels since these are directly linked to cardiovascular diseases and conditions which lead to dementia.
READ:Can coconut oil help with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
Sources: huffingtonpost.com, usatoday.com, nhs.uk
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