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Information For Patients

How can you reduce the chance of getting Dementia?

Worldwide around 50 million people live with dementia, and this number is projected to increase to 152 million by 2050. The Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention, and care have identified 12 risk factors that might prevent or delay up to 40% of dementias (You can read the original Lancet Article here).

  • Excessive alcohol consumption – Limit alcohol use, as alcohol misuse and drinking more than 21 units weekly increase the risk of dementia.
  • Prevent head injury.
  • Reduce exposure to air pollution and second-hand tobacco smoke
  • Education – Provide all children with primary and secondary education
  • Hypertension – Aim to maintain systolic BP of 130 mm Hg or less in midlife from around age 40 years (antihypertensive treatment for hypertension is the only known effective preventive medication for dementia).
  • Hearing impairment – Encourage use of hearing aids for hearing loss and reduce hearing loss by protection of ears from excessive noise exposure.
  • Stop smoking – Avoid smoking uptake and support smoking cessation to stop smoking, as this reduces the risk of dementia even in later life.
  • Obesity – Reduce obesity and the linked condition of diabetes. Sustain midlife, and possibly later life physical activity.
  • Depression – Lifestyle interventions, will improve general health.
  • Physical inactivity – Lead an active life into mid, and possibly later life.
  • Diabetes
  • Infrequent social contact.

For those with dementia, recommendations are:
• Provide holistic post-diagnostic care
• Post-diagnostic care for people with dementia should address physical and mental health, social care, and support. Most people with dementia have other illnesses and might struggle to look after their health and this might result in potentially preventable hospitalisations.
• Manage neuropsychiatric symptoms
• Specific multicomponent interventions decrease neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with dementia and are the treatments of choice. Psychotropic drugs are often ineffective and might have severe adverse effects.
• Care for family carers
• Specific interventions for family carers have long-lasting effects on depression and anxiety symptoms, increase quality of life, are cost-effective and might save money.