World Health Organization releases new guidelines for reducing risk of getting dementia

Eat well, exercise more: New global guidelines to reduce risk of dementia

To Prevent Dementia, Try Exercise, Not Vitamin Pills: WHO

Dementia results from a variety of diseases and injuries that primarily or secondarily affect the brain, such as Alzheimer's disease or stroke.

Getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels can all help stop the onset of the disease that around 30 per cent of people aged over 85 are now living with.

While age is the strongest known risk factor for cognitive decline, dementia is not a natural or inevitable outcome of ageing, the World Health Organization said. The scientific evidence gathered to draw up the guidelines, Tedros said, "confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain". Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, with almost 60 percent living in low- and middle-income countries.

Key lifestyle choices such as getting regular exercise, not smoking or drinking too much, can reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive decline, the United Nations health agency said on Tuesday. 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.

There are almost 10 million new cases every year.

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It is a rapidly growing public health problem affecting around 50 million people globally.

"Other recommendations have a less strong evidence base but may have evidence that they do not increase risk or harm and can therefore be recommended safely, although their impact on risk is less certain". Carrillo agrees that people should be looking to obtain nutrients through eating whole foods rather than using supplements. "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.

World Health Organization said that iSupport was now being used in eight countries, adding that the organisation will soon facilitate the adoption of the programme by more countries.

The WHO has set up an online training program for carers with advice on care management and dealing with behavioral changes, as well as looking after their own health.

The report, which is close to 100 pages, identifies various lifestyle adjustments that can be made in an effort to reduce the risk of dementia. (The Guidelines are available in multiple languages and audio forms).

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