Reducing Your Risk Of Dementia Is Deceptively Simple

Published: 22/05/2019

You could be forgiven for being utterly bamboozled by the endless stories about dementia in the media.   In recent weeks I’ve read stories claiming people who wake up frequently at night or snore a lot have a greater risk of developing the condition



 
 
                                                                                                        Written by: Ken Oxley  
                                                                                                    Alzheimer's Society  
                                                                                                     North East & Cumbria




You could be forgiven for being utterly bamboozled by the endless stories about dementia in the media.
 
In recent weeks I’ve read stories claiming people who wake up frequently at night or snore a lot have a greater risk of developing the condition.
 
Those who have been single most of their lives are also, apparently, more susceptible, as are people who consume high quantities of sugar.
 
On the up side, there has been a glut of stories over the past few weeks claiming the spice curcumin – found in Turmeric – and vitamin B-3 could protect against or help to treat dementia.
 
No wonder people are confused. My advice would be to take the vast majority of these stories with a pinch of salt…or perhaps not, because a high salt diet has also been linked to dementia!
 
However, one research finding that crops up time and again is this – what’s good for the heart is good for the head.
 


It’s a very simple message that is supported by numerous scientific studies. The latest of these was published earlier this month in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, and reported in the Daily Mail.
 
It concluded that going for a brisk daily walk or bike ride really can help to stave off dementia. This is because exercise boosts white matter in the brain.
 
You don’t need to understand what white matter is, so I won’t bother explaining it here. What’s important is that low levels of white matter correlate with poor memory.
 
And by using brain imaging techniques to measure white matter, scientists have been able to establish a link between fitness and brain functionality.
 
The ‘what’s good for the heart is good for the head’ mantra holds true in relation to diet too, meaning fresh fruit and vegetables and foods low in fat and sugar tend to be better for brain health.
 
There are no guarantees when it comes to dementia. It can affect anyone, even those who have lived exemplary lifestyles.
 
But what this latest study confirms is that you can lower your risk. So don’t let the scare stories or reports of miracle cures confuse you.
 
The truth is out there…and it’s deceptively simple.

Visit our website at www.alzheimers.org.uk or call our North East office on 0191 2983989.
 
Ken Oxley is the Media Officer for the Alzheimer’s Society in the North East and Cumbria 
 
Notes to editors:
  • Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading dementia charity. We provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Dementia devastates lives. Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia. By 2021, 1 million people will be living with the condition. This will soar to two million by 2051.
  • Dementia deaths are rising year on year and 225,000 will develop dementia this year - that’s one every three minutes.
  • Dementia costs the UK economy over £26 billion per year. This is the equivalent of more than £30,000 per person with dementia. 
  • Alzheimer’s Society funds research into the cause, care, cure and prevention of all types of dementia and has committed to spend at least £150 million on research over the next decade. This includes a £50 million investment in the UK's first dedicated Dementia Research Institute.
  • Until the day we find a cure, Alzheimer's Society will be here for anyone affected by dementia - wherever they are, whatever they're going through. Everything we do is informed and inspired by them.
  • Let's take on dementia together. Volunteer. Donate. Campaign for change. Whatever you do, unite with us against dementia. 
  • Alzheimer’s Society relies on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0330 333 0804 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk.  
  • Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk  
  • Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @Alzheimerssoc
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  • Alzheimer’s Society YouTube channel www.youtube.com/AlzheimersSociety