Dementia is a great challenge for the world’s health and social care in the 21st century. Nowadays, there are approximately 50 million people in the world who suffer from dementia, and the number continues to rise at an alarming rate. Fortunately, according to the latest research, more than 30 percent of dementia cases are preventable by managing lifestyle factors.
According to the Alzheimer Society, someone with dementia can be recognized by specific cognitive symptoms that relate to the capability of thinking or memorizing. The person will have difficulty remembering a daily routine, conversing, and making a decision. Someone with dementia also experiences a significant problem in measuring distance, affecting the person’s ability to walk stairs.
Fortunately, the global problem of dementia can be prevented by changing our lifestyle. This was presented during the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in London last week. In the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care, experts from around the world presented their report at the annual meeting of a global forum to the advancement of dementia science.
One of the commission members is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Keck School of Medicine of the USC, Lon Schneider. He explained that the commission has identified nine factors attributed to one in three dementia cases in the world.
- Early-life education
- Hearing loss
- Cigarette smoking
- Insufficiency of physical activity
- Lack of social contact
The report also noted that managing those factors in certain stages of life will reduce the possibility of dementia by 35 percent. Engaging in early education, addressing hearing loss, and dealing with hypertension and obesity in early to mid-life stages can reduce the likelihood of dementia by 20 percent. Furthermore, another 15 percent can be reduced in later life by quitting smoking, living a joyful life, treating depression, increasing physical activity, having more friends, and managing diabetes.
“Mitigating risk factors provides us a powerful way to reduce the global burden of dementia.”
Schneider stressed the importance of properly addressing those nine risk factors in order to prevent dementia. The research also predicted that the number of people with dementia will surge to 66 million in 2030 and double in 2050 to 115 million. Dementia is a global challenge today, and we need to have a basic understanding about dementia to address it properly.
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