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5 steps to ward off dementia

17 December 2014 09:55

Living a healthy lifestyle could cut your risk of dementia by a third, claim leading health specialists.

Living a healthy lifestyle could cut your risk of dementia by a third, claim leading health specialists.

You could reduce your risk of dementia by living a healthy lifestyle, according to leading medical experts.

There are five simple steps that people can take in a bid to reduce the risk of developing the condition, according to charity Age UK.

Lifestyle contributes to about 75% of cognitive decline - analysis of academic studies and data revealed. But the study found that men following the 5 steps were a third less likely to develop cognitive decline, and dementia, than those who didn't follow them.

The 5 factors and tips for achieving them

Taking regular exercise, maintaining a healthy bodyweight, abstaining from smoking, not drinking too much and eating a Mediterranean diet were the key factors observed in contributing to healthier living. Here are some tips on how to achieve them:

Healthy weight is registered as a 'healthy' body mass index (BMI) score - which is calculated by comparing height to weight. What's your BMI? There are many reasons to give up smoking - including the fact that after 10 years your chance of suffering lung cancer is half that of a smoker, according to the NHS. make a list of reasons to quit, make a plan to quit smoking and change your eating habits - just a few of the NHS tips for giving up smoking . The Med diet has long been linked with brain health - with researchers praising its whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, oils and fish. A holiday offers a perfect opportunity to eat the finest Mediterranean food - don't forget to arrange travel insurance or pre-existing medical travel insurance first. Exercise: NHS guidelines advise at least 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity exercise - such as cycling or fast walking. Low or moderate alcohol consumption: Charity Drinkaware says you can cut down on alcohol by replacing beers in the fridge with soft drinks, swapping cocktails for mocktails and large wine glasses for small.

What Age UK says

Charity director of Age UK Caroline Abrahams said there is still no cure or way to reverse dementia, but acknowledged the evidence shows "simple and effective ways" to reduce the risk of developing it.

She added that changes needed to keep our brains healthy are already proven to be good for the heart and overall health, so it is "common sense" for us all to try to build them into our lives.

"The sooner we start, the better our chance of having a healthy later life," she said.