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Ways to protect against Alzheimer's

18 September 2014 09:58

Physical exercise can go some way to keeping us safe from dementia

Physical exercise can go some way to keeping us safe from dementia

A group of Alzheimer's experts are calling for a public health campaign aimed at raising awareness of what people can do to help keep the disease at bay.

More needs to be done to inform the public about risk factors that can leave people more vulnerable to the condition and the steps they can take to reduce their chances of developing it, according to a report commissioned by Alzheimer's Disease International, a group comprised of dozens of international Alzheimer's organisations.

It highlights risk factors such as a poor quality of education in early life and high blood pressure during middle age. It also says smoking and diabetes at any time in life can increase the chances of developing dementia.

Foreign travel can be beneficial for some who have already developed dementia. Affordable travel insurance for people with Alzheimer's is available to help those who have the condition and their families enjoy a well-earned break.

How can I prevent Alzheimer's?

Steps you can take to reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer's include:

Try and be physically active for at least 30 minutes, five times a week Eat healthily by maintaining a balanced, Mediterranean-influenced diet Check and manage your cholesterol and blood pressure levels regularly

The report draws parallels between good heart health and a healthy brain. It says that, as a general rule, lifestyle factors like less tobacco use and improved control and detection of high blood pressure and diabetes - which are good for your heart - are also strong ways of safeguarding against dementia.

A separate piece of research by healthcare provider Bupa has identified confusion among people all over the world about what changes they can make to their lives to reduce their chances of developing Alzheimer's.

Less than a quarter are aware that physical exercise can help to protect them against Alzheimer's, according to the study. Only a quarter know their weight can be a factor and just over a sixth realise social interaction with friends and family can have an effect.