Friday, 28 July 2017

A healthy lifestyle can reduce risk of dementia

A healthy lifestyle can reduce risk of dementia Lifestyle has a major role to play in the health and well-being of a person. It’s not just physical health that benefits from a healthy lifestyle, but also mental health. Dementia is usually regarded as a part of the normal aging process. But it is not always so. Dementia is also associated with lifestyle factors. And, the risk of dementia can be reduced by simple but effective lifestyle modifications. This is the key message from a new report of The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care, presented at the recently concluded Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) 2017 on July 20, 2017 and also published in The Lancet. The report has identified nine lifestyle factors (as below) during the course of life - early, middle and later – that influence the risk of dementia. Many of these factors can co-occur. The Report has for the first time considered social isolation and hearing as being pertinent to dementia. The level of education was also found to be an important risk factor. Poor education has been correlated with poor cognition. 1. Early life level of education 2. Midlife hypertension 3. Midlife obesity 4. Midlife hearing loss 5. Later life smoking 6. Later life physical inactivity 7. Later life social isolation 8. Later life depression 9. Later life diabetes Prevention is always better than cure. These factors are potentially modifiable and addressing them timely can prevent dementia in a large number of people. In addition to well-controlled hypertension and diabetes, early treatment of depression, weight loss, smoking cessation, being socially active, increasing physical activity, it is also important to engage in mentally stimulating and challenging exercises to keep the brain active. Develop a hobby, solve crossword puzzles, play chess or such challenging games to stay mentally active. A healthy lifestyle adopted early in life builds up cognitive reserve for later life. It is important that we also advise our patients to start making positive lifestyle changes for a healthy old age. (Source: Medscape) Dr KK Aggarwal National President IMA & HCFI

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