Reduce Dementia Risk By Following This Routine, Says WHO

Smoking was found to be one of the biggest risk factors

Smoking was found to be one of the biggest risk factors

World Health Organization said there are 10 million new cases of dementia every year, and this figure is set to triple by 2050. Dementia is a condition characterized by difficulty with memory, thinking, and doing everyday daily activities. "A number of systematic reviews of observational studies have made a conclusion that highly adhering to the Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment risk, but modest adherence is not", said the World Health Organization report. The disease causes disability and places a costly heath care burden on countries - by 2030, dementia cost are expected to reach $2 billion each year.

Dementia is a syndrome - usually of a chronic or progressive nature - in which there is deterioration in cognitive function (i.e. the ability to process thought) beyond what might be expected from normal ageing.

We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia.

It urged healthcare providers to use the guidelines provided by the organisation in advising patients on what they can do to prevent cognitive decline and dementia. They also serve as a knowledge base for governments, planning authorities and policymakers to develop programs and policies that will help encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

In the guideline, the organisation says people can delay the onset of dementia by eating healthy, exercising regularly, controlling their weight, maintaining healthy blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, cutting down the intake of harmful alcohol, and avoiding smoking. But they take a firm stance against vitamin B or E pills, fish oil or multi-complex supplements that are promoted for brain health because there's strong research showing they don't work.

According to the guidelines, people can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking and avoiding harmful use of alcohol.

The WHO also advocates proper management of a range of health indicators as ages grow, such as that of mid-life overweight and obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, depression, and hearing loss. At the same time, "we do know that there are some risk factor for dementia that we can actually modify", Dr. Neerja Chowdhary of WHO's mental health and substance abuse division, told reporters in Geneva. "Several systematic reviews of observational studies have concluded that high adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with decreased risk of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's Disease, but modest adherence is not", the report states.