Tuesday, 23 July, 2019

Reduce Dementia Risk By Following This Routine, Says WHO

Around five to eight percent of people over the age of 60 are afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and other forms for dementiaMore Around five to eight percent of people over the age of 60 are afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and other forms for dementiaMore
Gustavo Carr | 17 May, 2019, 16:35

Dementia isn't just one disease, but a variety of conditions that produce similar symptoms, including memory loss and decreased cognitive abilities.

"In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple", WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

The number of people living with dementia is expected to explode from approximately 50 million today to 152 million by 2050, the World Health Organization said in its report.

The guidelines issued by WHO on Tuesday "provide the knowledge base for health-care providers to advise patients on what they can do to help prevent cognitive decline and dementia".

New guidelines have been issued to improve lifestyle choices linked to the condition by the organisation, which said that age is the strongest risk factor for dementia but the disease is not an inevitable effect of growing older.

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Dementia is characterized by a decline in cognitive function that is beyond what would usually be expected as a result of normal aging. "Additionally, the disease inflicts a heavy economic burden on societies as a whole, with the costs of caring for people with dementia estimated to rise to US$ 2 trillion annually by 2030". However, there was not always strong evidence that dementia risk would be reduced with these steps.

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.

"During the last two decades, several studies have shown a relationship between the development of cognitive impairment and dementia with educational attainment, and lifestyle-related risk factors, such as physical inactivity, tobacco use, unhealthy diets and harmful use of alcohol", the report states. They can also guide policymakers and other authorities on how to develop programs and strategies that move people to live healthier lifestyles.

"People should be looking for these nutrients through food. not through supplements", Carrillo agreed. "This is why WHO created iSupport. iSupport is an online training programme providing carers of people with dementia with advice on overall management of care, dealing with behaviour changes and how to look after their own health".

"Dementia carers are very often family members who need to make considerable adjustments to their family and professional lives to care for their loved ones", said Devora Kestel, director of the department of mental health and substance abuse at WHO.