Seven healthy habits and lifestyle changes may help reduce your risk of dementia, according to a study.
The study followed 13,720 women with an average age of 54 at the start of the study.
After 20 years of follow-up, researchers looked at U.S. health data and found that 1,771 of the women, or 13 percent, had Dementia.
What can reduce the chance of developing dementia?
The researchers found that being active, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, keeping blood pressure at normal levels, and controlling cholesterol and low blood sugar were some of the factors that helped reduce the odds of developing the disease.
For each of the seven health factors, participants scored zero for poor or “moderate” health and one for ideal health, so a total possible score of seven was possible.
The average score at the start of the study was 4.3, which dropped to 4.2 after 10 years.
After adjusting for factors such as age and education, the researchers found that for each point increase in the score, a person’s risk of developing dementia fell by 6 percent.
“Now that we now know that dementia can start in the brain decades before diagnosis, it’s important that we learn more about how your midlife habits affect your risk of developing dementia in old age,” said Bly said Pamela Rist, an assistant professor at Roots and Women’s Hospital. Boston Hospital said.
“The good news is that making healthy lifestyle choices in middle age may reduce the risk of dementia later in life.”
What is dementia?
The NHS describes dementia as symptoms associated with a decline in brain function.
Some symptoms include memory loss, difficulty with speech, mood, movement, and daily activities.
Ms Rist said it was empowering to know that exercising and controlling blood pressure could ultimately “reduce the risk of dementia”.
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However, the study does have limitations, as the researchers were unable to assess whether quitting smoking would affect the risk of developing dementia later in life.
Susan Mitchell, spokeswoman for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the study provided “overwhelming evidence” that staying active and eating a healthy diet could reduce dementia in middle-aged women.
“In addition to staying active and taking care of our hearts, getting a good night’s sleep, challenging our brains and connecting with those around us can all help reduce our chances of developing dementia,” she said.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.