One-third of cases of dementia could potentially be prevented through better management of lifestyle factors such as smoking, hypertension, depression, and hearing loss over the course of a lifetime, according to a new report.
Worldwide, about 47 million people were living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in 2015. That number is projected to triple by the year 2050. Health care costs associated with dementia are estimated to be $818 billion in 2015.
The new study, published in The Lancet and conducted by the first Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care, brought 24 international experts together to review existing dementia research and provide recommendations for treating and preventing this devastating condition.
The report identifies nine modifiable risk factors that affect the likelihood of developing dementia: getting an education (staying in school until over the age of 15); reducing high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes; avoiding or treating hearing loss in mid-life; not smoking; getting physical exercise; and reducing depression and social isolation later in life. About 35% of dementia cases are attributable to these factors, the analysis found. Removing them could then theoretically prevent 1 in 3 cases.
To learn more about better lifestyle management, visit SelfCare for HealthCare.