World Alzheimer’s Month 2014: New report outlines ways to reduce risk
This September marks the third annual World Alzheimer’s Month, a time to look at dementia from a global perspective while raising awareness and challenging stigma. This year’s theme, Dementia: Can we reduce the risk?, focuses on ways we can help to reduce our risk of developing dementia.
This week, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) released its World Alzheimer Report 2014, “Dementia and Risk Reduction: An analysis of protective and modifiable factors.” ADI has systematically reviewed all the current research related to dementia risk factors in four key domains: developmental, psychological and psychosocial, lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors.
Through their review of the research, ADI has found persuasive evidence that the risk for dementia can be modified through reduction in tobacco use and better control and detection of hypertension and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular risk factors. The evidence also indicates that making these changes, even late in life, still has the potential to reduce the risk of dementia. If we can all enter old age with better developed, healthier brains we are likely to live longer, happier and more independent lives with a much reduced chance of developing dementia.
The Alzheimer Society continues to encourage Canadians to reduce their risk by making healthy lifestyle changes:
- Look after your heart – “What’s good for your brain is good for your heart.” Maintain a healthy weight, monitor blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and eat a heart-healthy diet.
- Be physically active – Research shows that moderate physical activity promotes better brain health and people who exercise regularly are less likely to develop heart disease, stroke and diabetes, all associated with increased risk.
- Follow a healthy diet - Scientific evidence indicates that long-term healthy dietary choices help maintain brain function, slow memory decline and may help reduce your risk for Alzheimer's disease.
- Challenge your brain – Keeping your brain active doesn't have to be difficult. It can be as simple as dialing the phone with your less dominant hand or as complex as learning a new language. The goal is to give your brain a new experience and a workout each and every day.
- Enjoy social activity - Research shows that people who regularly interact with others maintain their brain function better than those who don't. Stay socially active through work, volunteer activities, travel, hobbies, family and friends. Be open to new experiences.
Read more about keeping your brain healthy at: www.alzheimer.ca/brainhealth.
Read the World Alzheimer Report 2014 “Dementia and Risk Reduction: An analysis of protective and modifiable factors”.