The Lancet, one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world, has released a series of recommendations to delay and prevent 40% of dementia cases. The key is to modify 12 risk factors throughout life.
The report, led by 28 world-renowned dementia experts, is based on the 9 risk factors identified in the 2017 Lancet Commission and adds three new ones.
The study calls on nations and individuals to be ambitious in dementia prevention and establishes a set of policies and lifestyle changes to help prevent this degenerative disease.
152 million affected in 2050
According to data from The Lancet, around the world, around 50 million people live with dementia and this number is projected to increase to 152 million in 2050, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
“it is within the power of policy-makers and individuals to prevent and delay a significant proportion of dementia”
Fortunately, in some countries the proportion of older people with dementia has decreased, probably due to improvements in education, nutrition, health care, and lifestyle changes, demonstrating the possibility of reducing dementia through preventive measures.
Dementia affects people, their families and the economy, and the global costs of the disease are estimated to be around $ 1 trillion annually.
“Our report shows that it is within the power of policy-makers and individuals to prevent and delay a significant proportion of dementia, with opportunities to make an impact at each stage of a person’s life,” explains lead author, Gill Livingston from University College London (United Kingdom), in statements cited by Medical Xpress.
Risk factors to modify
- Try to maintain a systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or less in middle age from the age of 40.
- Encourage the use of hearing aids for hearing loss and reduce hearing loss by protecting the ears from high noise levels.
- Reduce exposure to air pollution and tobacco smoke.
- Prevent head injuries.
- Prevent alcohol abuse and limit drinking to less than 21 units per week.
- Quit smoking and support individuals to quit smoking
- Provide all children with primary and secondary education.
- Lead an active life until middle age and possibly later.
- Reduce obesity.
- Treat depression.
- Treat and predict diabetes.
- Prevent social isolation.
Adesola Ogunniyi, from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, points out that “In low- and middle-income countries, the higher prevalence of dementia risk factors means an even greater proportion of dementia is potentially preventable than in “higher-income countries”.
The authors advocate evidence-based, individualized, holistic care that addresses physical and mental health, social care, and support that can accommodate complex needs.
People with dementia are at special risk of getting Covid-19 due to age as they have pre-existing conditions.
Keeping people with dementia physically healthy is important for their cognition, but they often have other illnesses, which can have difficulty managing on their own, resulting in potentially harmful hospitalizations.
They point out that people with dementia are at special risk of contracting Covid-19 (due to age as they have pre-existing conditions, such as hypertension), and that physical distancing measures can be difficult for dementia patients, who It may be difficult for them to follow the guidelines or it can be distressing to be unable to have contact with caregivers and family.