Publicado: Vie, May 17, 2019
Salud | Por Gertrudes Rodriquez

Healthy Lifestyle Can Reduce Risk Of Dementia In Old Age

Healthy Lifestyle Can Reduce Risk Of Dementia In Old Age

Dementia affects more than 425,000 Australians, but new guidelines set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO), aim to reduce a person's risk of getting the disease.

"We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia", the statement quoted the WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, as saying.

The guidelines recommend exercising regularly and following a healthy lifestyle, rather than relying on vitamin supplements or other pills.

The organisation estimated that the cost of caring for people with dementia would rise to two trillion dollars annually by 2030, if adequate measures were not taken by countries to address the problem.

Dementia is an illness characterized by a deterioration in cognitive function beyond what might be expected from normal ageing. However, there was not always strong evidence that dementia risk would be reduced with these steps. The advice is to get regular exercise, not smoke, avoid harmful use of alcohol, control weight, eat a healthy diet, maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

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According to World Health Organization spokesperson Neerja Chowdhary, the study did not take into account the effect of smoking marijuana or environmental factors on the risk of dementia, although there is some evidence that poor sleep and pollution may also be linked to dementia.

The guidelines were created to provide healthcare professionals with the knowledge they need to advise patients on the measures they can take to reduce their risk for cognitive decline and dementia. Dementia is now incurable, but studies show a variety of things can affect the odds of developing it. They also serve as a knowledge base for governments, planning authorities and policymakers to develop programs and policies that will help encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Maria C. Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer's Association in the United States, said there was substantial evidence that there were things people could do to reduce the risks.

Currently, iSupport is available for use in eight countries, with more expected to follow in the future.

And they hint that an active social life could also be beneficial, pointing to studies showing that social disengagement can place older individuals at increased risk of cognitive impairment. At the same time, "we do know that there are some risk factor for dementia that we can actually modify", Dr. Neerja Chowdhary of WHO's mental health and substance abuse division, told reporters in Geneva.

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