The 12 lifestyle choices and conditions which fuel dementia have been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the most definitive list ever of how to avoid mental decline in later life.
New guidelines based on analysis of decades of research found that physical inactivity, smoking, eating an unhealthy diet and drinking excessive alcohol significantly increased the threat of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Medical conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity also played a role in the development of cognitive decline and full-blown dementia.
WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, has warned that in the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple, and added that “we need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia. “The scientific evidence gathered for these guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time; that what is good for our heart is also good for our brain.” The possible risk factors identified by the WHO team are:
- Low level of physical activity
- poor diet
- alcohol misuse
- insufficient or impaired cognitive reserve (brain’s ability to compensate for neural problems)
- lack of social activity
- unhealthy weight gain
- dyslipidemia (unhealthy cholesterol levels)
- hearing loss.
And health experts also warned of a link between hearing loss and depression.