There are no sure-fire ways to prevent dementia, but there are positive steps we can take to reduce our risk of developing the condition.
Alzheimer’s Research UK’s scientists are making great progress in understanding why people develop dementia. We know that diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, are attacking the brain and causing nerve cells to die – but research is underway to figure out what causes these diseases.
Where are we now?
We know that there is not one single cause for dementia. It is a complex mix of these risk factors:
- Medical history.
What is meant by a risk factor?
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of developing a condition. Some risk factors, like age and genetics, can’t be changed – but others can.
So – the big question – is there anything we can do to reduce our risk of dementia?
While there are no sure-fire ways to prevent dementia, evidence has shown that making positive lifestyle changes can help to reduce our risk.
This is because risk factors for cardiovascular disease, like heart disease and stroke, are also risk factors for dementia. Leading a healthy lifestyle and taking regular exercise will help lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases, and it’s likely you could be lowering your risk of dementia too, particularly vascular dementia. This is the second most common cause of dementia and can occur when blood flow to the brain becomes reduced.
The best advice we have is what is good for your heart is good for your brain.
When do we need to start making these lifestyle changes?
There’s never a better time than now to start making positive lifestyle changes, as this will help to improve your overall health. To reduce your risk of dementia, studies suggest it may be particularly important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in your forties and fifties. This is because dementia starts developing in our brains up to 20 years before we first start seeing symptoms.