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Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Many Senior Citizens Do Not Know How to Lower Dementia Risk

Alzheimer’s Society of U.K. emphasizes five simple things older people can do to avoid dementia

Five Simple Steps to Avoid Dementia

Sept. 14, 2014 - Alzheimer’s disease is the affliction feared most by a majority of senior citizens but a new study in the U.K. finds a surprisingly large number of seniors are unaware that it is possible to lower their risk of dementia.

More than a fifth of people, in fact, do not think it is possible to reduce their risk of developing dementia, according to the YouGov poll commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society of the United Kingdom.

Despite growing evidence that simple lifestyle factors can improve our chances of avoiding dementia, the poll found that 22 percent of the general public are unaware of this and could be putting themselves at risk.

Alzheimer's Society is calling on people to take action now and has revealed five simple things people can start doing straight away to reduce their risk of the dementia.

The most important of which is to take regular exercise. The results and tips are released as Alzheimer's Society encourages people to sign up to its annual flagship fundraising event, Memory Walk.

Ruth Langsford, Alzheimer's Society Ambassador and presenter of ITV's This Morning and Loose Women, said:

'My wonderful dad had dementia, so naturally I have concerns that I might get it too. Like a worrying number of us, I didn't realize until recently that there are simple things you can do to reduce your risk, such as exercising regularly. Now I try to eat healthily, keep active and go on long walks with our dog, Maggie. This September I'm bringing my dog to Alzheimer's Society's Memory Walk as it's the perfect way to get some gentle exercise, whilst raising money for the charity and remembering dad.'

 

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Five Simple Steps to Avoid Dementia

Alzheimer's Society recommends the following five simple things you can start doing now to reduce your risk of developing the condition:

>> Exercise - There's more evidence that regular exercise will prevent dementia than for any other measure we might take. Walking regularly is an excellent way of keeping active.

>> Eat Mediterranean food - Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts, a little red wine and not much meat or dairy.

>> Manage other health conditions – Other conditions like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure both increase your risk of developing dementia, so get these checked and follow medical advice to keep them under control.

>> Avoid smoking - it significantly increases your risk of developing dementia, most likely because it damages blood vessels and reduces the amount of blood that reaches your brain. 

>> Use it or lose it – Scientists believe that frequently challenging your brain with new things is the key, for example taking up a new hobby, learning a language or even walking an unfamiliar route.

Dr. Clare Walton from Alzheimer's Society said, “800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia but with no cure yet, we need a significant public health effort to attempt to reduce the number of future cases of the condition.

“We know that what is good for your heart is good for your head and there are simple things you can start doing now to reduce your risk of developing dementia. Regular exercise is a good place to start as well as avoiding smoking and eating a Mediterranean diet.

“It is never too early to start making healthier choices that could help your memory - whether that's hitting the gym or just walking instead of catching the bus, it all helps.'

Memory Walks take place around the UK throughout the autumn to raise money for people affected by dementia and their careers. It is a day to walk, share and celebrate someone special and everyone walks with one common goal: to defeat dementia. From shorter walks no longer than a mile to walks as far as 10k there is something on offer for everyone.

Memory Walk is Alzheimer's Society's flagship fundraising event.  The walks take place across the UK this autumn to raise money for people affected by dementia and their care givers

To find a walk near you, visit memorywalk.org.uk

Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the corresponding fund-raising event in the U.S. sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association – click to website.

The U.S. Alzheimer’s Association has a 24/7 Helpline: 1.800.272.3900 and their website is at www.alz.org

The UK Alzheimer's Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk

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