Risk Factors for Dementia
- Smoking – people who smoke have a 70% higher risk of Dementia compared to those who don’t smoke
- Exercise – simple exercise can help to prevent Type II diabetes, which is associated with risk of Dementia.
- Diet – Making changes to your diet can help to reduce your blood pressure, lose weight or prevent Type II diabetes
- Alcohol – The evidence surrounding alcohol is mixed, however if you are a heavy drinker, over a long period of time, this can increase your risk of developing Dementia
If you would like further information, you can have a look at : www.agescotland.org.uk
Hello, Lucy here from the BDA Scotland. I want to talk about risk factors today. Maybe one of your parents has been diagnosed with dementia and you are wondering whether this can be passed on genetically. Dementia is very rarely passed on genetically.
You may have noticed people generally acquired dementia over the age of 65. Back in 2013 in Scotland, we had a sizeable population of people over 65, but by 2037, we will have many more, as our population ages. The number of people over 65 is growing fast and because age is a risk factor for dementia, this means the number of people with dementia will also grow.
There are other risk factors that have been identified. It’s been shown that women are more likely than men to develop dementia. Additionally, there is evidence that brain injuries sustained through sport or in a car accident for example can be linked to the chances of you developing dementia later in life.
You may have seen reports in the media saying we will find a cure for dementia. At the moment there is no cure and it’s unlikely we will find one for a long time, and we need a lot more research. However, if you do not yet have a diagnosis of dementia, there are things that you can do to try and reduce your risk of developing it later in life. You can make changes to improve your health and change your lifestyle now. Diet and exercise are both important, as is giving up smoking and reducing your alcohol consumption – all this can help.
There are four main risk factors. The first is smoking. People who smoke are more likely to develop dementia later in life. Some research shows there is a 70% higher risk compared to people who don’t smoke.
The second factor is exercise. Simple exercise can help prevent Type II diabetes, which is associated with risk of dementia. If you’re not sure what exercise to do, walking is a good option. If you spend a lot of time at home you could try standing up and moving around more often rather than sitting down. If you take the bus, why not get off one stop earlier and walk so that you get some extra exercise? Simple exercises can help improve your memory and thinking. You don’t have to go to that to the gym. You can make small changes like standing more to cook or clean or just move around more to get your circulation going. Every little helps.
The third factor is diet. Making changes your diet can help to reduce your blood pressure, lose weight or prevent Type II diabetes. These are all risk factors for developing dementia later in life. It can be difficult to lose weight as you become older and your body changes but if you are struggling, it’s worth asking your GP for advice on how to eat well. They will be happy to help you take care of your body and protect against dementia later in life.
Alcohol is another risk factor. There is a lot of debate about this. Some studies seem to show alcohol is ok but others suggest not because it can affect your health. The evidence is mixed. However, if you are a regular heavy drinker and you drink every day for a long period of time this can be a risk factor for developing dementia. It does depend on the individual. There is a particular form of dementia linked to alcoholism called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Alcohol can damage your brain and cause dementia. It’s ok to drink in moderation. Two to three units per day or less is a good guide. That might be one glass of wine. Try to be careful how much you drink. Ask your GP if you are unsure or want more details on how to manage your alcohol intake better.
I hope this video is useful. There’s a web link to follow if you want to read more information about how to improve your health and lower your risk of developing dementia. Thank you for watching. Goodbye.